Gnomes, flamingos, concrete geese, gazing balls…these are the types of kitschy lawn decor you expect to find in front yards across America.
But Barbie dolls? NUDE Barbie dolls?
Only in Georgia.
I was first introduced to Barbie Beach back in 2009 by my best friend, Michelle, who had recently moved to Newnan, Georgia with her husband. She told me that Barbie Beach was “right up my alley” and that I simply HAD to see it for myself. She tried to explain the phenomenon to me to no avail. It is truly something you have to see for yourself to understand.
Steve and Lynda Quick own the Barbie Beach property on the outskirts of Turin, Georgia. From I-85, you can take Exit 41 towards Newnan and make a right at the Highway 16 fork. You’ll find Turin about nine miles after the four-way stop. To accommodate gawking tourists and locals, the Quicks have put up some signage directing passersby to a little parking area to avoid traffic congestion.
They started sticking Barbies (often naked Barbies) in the yard back in 2006. There’s always a theme, and some of them have been the Royal Wedding, the Final Four Playoffs, Winter and Summer Olympics. Random people bring Barbies to the Quicks for their display, often naked and with haircuts and tattoos.
Check out this incredibly interesting video interview by Rebecca Riley, Daniel Oramas, and Alessio Summerfield from the Chattahoochee Heritage Project:
These are some of my absolute favorite quotes:
It started with six naked Barbies, a ping pong net, a ping pong ball, and a homemade sign…
Three, four beers…your imagination gets crazy and you start talking it through, and you go, well we could do this, and we could do this, and well…we’ll do that!
The first thing that a child does when they get a new Barbie is take the clothes off.
To me, it is a form of freedom of speech.
In 2011, the front yard beach was filled with Barbies painted up like zombies, in tribute to The Walking Dead. Barbie Beach has gained so much local notoriety that it even made its way onto Roadside America.
A couple months ago, I paid a visit to Michelle and made a point to stop at Barbie Beach. There was an envelope along the fence containing informational guides to the history of Barbie Beach.
When I recently visited, it was Memorial Day weekend, so the Kens were decked out in military gear. I must admit that I was a little disappointed by the lack of Barbie soldier representation in this scene. But the plastic spoon headstones quickly made up for that.
You can request to join the Barbie Beach of Turin, GA Fan Club Facebook Page, and I recommend doing so to keep up with all the latest themes and gimmicks. You’ll see updates posted a couple times a month.
Make me choose between a gnome and a Barbie, and I’ll take the gnome any day. But Barbie Beach is truly one-of-a-kind and I hope the Quicks keep it up for a long, long time.
If you have a yard, why not fill it with things that make you happy…even if they don’t make sense to the average critic? WHY NOT?!
We need to stop taking our yards (and our lives) so seriously and lighten up a bit. Barbie Beach has the right idea. It’s always brought a smile to my face and re-lit a creative, free-spirited spark that I sometimes forget is inside me. I hope to have a yard of my own in the near future, and you’d better bet it’s going to be really freaking weird.