This may not be the "greatest show on earth," but it must be the quirkiest. In truth, it's not a show at all, at least not as we commonly understand the word. Rather, it's the life work of one man, former postman Jeff McKissack, who spent his last 25 years assembling a collection of found objects and building materials into an architectural collage that students of folk art call a "folk art environment." It stands in a quiet working-class neighborhood just off the Gulf Freeway, where it dares to be different. With the many flagpoles, spindles, wagon wheels, and wrought-iron birds rising up from behind its walls, it seems like an outpost for spontaneity in a wilderness of cookie-cutter ranch-style houses.
Inside, the viewer is presented with all kinds of curiosities: two small arenas, observation decks, a small museum, and lots of cheerful wrought-iron decoration and tile work. Inscriptions adorn the walls; many of these honor that best of all fruits, "The orange: a great gift to mankind." Seeing the whole thing takes less than an hour. Upon the death of Mr. McKissack, the Orange Show fell into decay until it was rescued by the Orange Show Foundation, located in the house across the street. The foundation is a center for Houston's folk-art world and the organizer of the Art Car Parade and the Art Car Ball. It is also the organizer of Eyeopener Tours. If you like folk art, consider purchasing their driving-tour audiocassette of Houston's other folk-art treasures. (The tape comes with a map.)
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010