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Everything’s Jake

Carnival attraction weds new annual bride Luna Landing
Damian Mulinix

Published on August 8, 2018 10:50AM

The first runner up in the Bride of Jake contest, Katy Cosmic (Kate Bardonski) laughed out loud after her attempt to blow a conch shell during the contest Saturday.

photos by DAMIAN MULINIX/For the Observer

The first runner up in the Bride of Jake contest, Katy Cosmic (Kate Bardonski) laughed out loud after her attempt to blow a conch shell during the contest Saturday.

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Luna Landing (Caitlin Mattson) was crowned the 2018 Bride of Jake on Saturday, part of the 11th annual 75th Birthday Party in Long Beach.
At left, John Bageant handed out green frosted birthday cupcakes to the crowd at the 11th annual Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday Party Saturday in downtown Long Beach.

Luna Landing (Caitlin Mattson) was crowned the 2018 Bride of Jake on Saturday, part of the 11th annual 75th Birthday Party in Long Beach. At left, John Bageant handed out green frosted birthday cupcakes to the crowd at the 11th annual Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday Party Saturday in downtown Long Beach.

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Star of the event, Jake the Alligator Man, signed autographs during his 11th annual birthday party in downtown Long Beach.

DAMIAN MULINIX/For the Observer

Star of the event, Jake the Alligator Man, signed autographs during his 11th annual birthday party in downtown Long Beach.

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John Bageant handed out green frosted birthday cupcakes to the crowd at the 11th annual Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday Party SAturday in downtown Long Beach.

DAMIAN MULINIX/For the Observer

John Bageant handed out green frosted birthday cupcakes to the crowd at the 11th annual Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday Party SAturday in downtown Long Beach.

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Visitors to the Jake the Alligator Man Birthday Party also got to check out the rat rod car show held in conjunction with the party.

DAMIAN MULINIX/For the Observer

Visitors to the Jake the Alligator Man Birthday Party also got to check out the rat rod car show held in conjunction with the party.

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Winner of the People’s Choice award at Saturday’s Bride of Jake contest, The Lone Stranger (Jenna Nisbett) rode a tiny alligator around the stage during the talent portion of the contest.

DAMIAN MULINIX/For the Observer

Winner of the People’s Choice award at Saturday’s Bride of Jake contest, The Lone Stranger (Jenna Nisbett) rode a tiny alligator around the stage during the talent portion of the contest.

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Jake the Alligator Man partied at an earlier edition of Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday and Car Show, an annual event held in Long Beach. The valuable artifact been back for several years, but is always on display at Marsh’s Free Museum.

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Jake the Alligator Man partied at an earlier edition of Jake the Alligator Man’s 75th Birthday and Car Show, an annual event held in Long Beach. The valuable artifact been back for several years, but is always on display at Marsh’s Free Museum.


LONG BEACH — For more than a decade, local sideshow legend Jake the Alligator Man has been attracting large crowds to his annual birthday party in downtown Long Beach.

Despite a reputation for loving them and leaving them, Jake also continues to welcome new suitors during the yearly Bride of Jake contest.

Last Saturday, a new bride was chosen for Jake, with Luna Landing (Caitlin Mattson) capturing his heart. She wowed him, and the judges, with her mixology skills — though a young taste tester from the audience “passed out” on stage after taking a drink.

The runner up was local contestant Katy Kosmic (Kate Bardonski), who came dressed in green and silver, with antennae on her head.

Another local, The Lone Stranger (Jenna Nesbitt) boot-scooted her way to the People’s Choice award, thanks in part to her talent routine, where she rode a tiny alligator around the stage to roars of laughter from the crowd.

This was the 11th year in a row that Jake took a new bride. It was also the 11th time he turned 75.

“We do the annual 75th (birthday party) for a few reasons,” said organizer Wendy Murry. “Mainly, because it’s quirky like Jake and it’s a good number (that) makes things easier.”


Organizer will retire


But while Jake will be returning next year, Murry — who is also the creator of the event — has decided to pass on the fun to someone new.

“Jake’s birthday will go on in some form,” she said, following last weekend’s party.

Murry said she has many reasons for stepping down.

She said she thinks the event needs someone to take what she and her husband Del — who has worked behind the scenes and also been the host of the Bride of Jake contest each year — have created and make organized systems to execute the different elements.

“I’m creative, not an accountant,” she said. “And as a volunteer chair, you’re asked to be all things. I am at the point where I have my hands in the mix of each element of an event with a lot of moving parts. I do an OK job at all of it, rather than a great job at the parts I’m good at.”

Murry said she also wanted to leave on a high note and pass it on to “people with fresh ideas.”

“Events get stale when they go on and on with the same people and formulas,” she said.


Lots of interest


Murry had been wondering and stressing a little, about who would take up the mantle, but said she was approached by multiple people over the weekend who offered to take it on.

Overall, Murry said she believes the event has been a success that has grown over the past decade.

“I guess it’s not a change or improvement I’m most pleased with as much as it was a giant art project with many incredible artists from up and down the West Coast and beyond who came together to create items for the event and perform music, burlesque and other performance art,” she said.

Murry also gave credit to Missy and John Bageant, Monica Morley, Bardonski and Joy and Bob Roughton for all of their hard work and assistance through the years.

“The event made art connections and collaborations that have nothing to do with Jake in places far from Long Beach,” Murry said.









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