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It's hard not to be overwhelmed and a little freaked out by Small Gift, the celebration of all things Sanrio that's currently occupying the humongous Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport. So MUCH Hello Kitty (we saw the waffle irons and the smart car, but sadly, no Hello Kitty taser). So many boisterous children. And so many females, ranging in age from infancy to well into their 50s, meticulously attired in Hello Kitty finery. (Small Gift devotes a lot of space to other characters like Chococat and Badtz-Maru, but let's not kid ourselves about the favorite). It's a whole lot of everything: there's an indoor carnival with games, a Ferris wheel and mini-golf. It will probably be much more chill during the week, but on Saturday, there was a long line for pretty much everything: to get into the gift shop, for the food trucks, to ride some of the carnival attractions.
Saturday was also the day of two crazy popular workshops: one from Sephora where they debuted the new Hello Kitty for Sephora Collection, and a cupcake workshop. Ample retail opportunities: the Sanrio trinkets you'd expect, but also goods from BAPE and Tokidoki.
The art section of the exhibit was popular, for good reason: it featured work from an exciting assortment of artists -- many of whom are based in LA -- like Gary Baseman, Buff Monster, Brandi Milne and Shark Toof.
Small Gift continues through next Sunday, wrapping up with a full schedule of closing weekend workshop and parties to check out. Admission is free, workshop prices vary, $10 to park.
· Small Gift [Sanrio]