Art in Public Places

“A Taste of the Weed Show” Exhibit

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No, it’s not that kind of weed.

Every year for the past 80+ years, the people of 29 Palms have hosted an arts competition, where participants design arrangements made from native desert flora and found objects. The Weed Show, now run by the 29 Palms Historical Society, is a popular local tradition and ribbons are prized like gold.

This fall, in partnership with the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC), the Historical Society is presenting a selection of some of the best past entries by skilled local artisans, opening October 7, at the City of 29 Palms Visitor Center.

The tradition of the annual Weed Show in 29 Palms originated in the 1940s, when the now-defunct Women’s Club of 29 Palms hosted a speaker from Pasadena and were embarrassed that they had no cut flowers with which to decorate the tables. Their visitor suggested they had a bounty of desert flora, and the hosts took her idea to heart, putting together beautiful table arrangements. They began to repeat the tradition yearly, incorporating items such as purple glass — glass that has turned purple under the rays of the sun; rusted mining tools; rocks and precious stones; and other found objects. Thus, the competition was born. 

The name of the show bears the question, “What is a weed?” and in this context, the term is used tongue-in-cheek to describe local treasures, such as desert evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides), whose dried stems curl up to form a birdcage-like structure, and coyote melon (Cucurbita palmata). Plants deemed weeds by early colonizers were essential to the lives of Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, and Serrano tribes, who used them for food, medicine, and fiber.

Come learn more about the history of this unique tradition and see past Weed Show displays at the 29 Palms Visitor Center from October 7 to December, 31, 2023, and if you can, attend the full Weed Show event November 4 and 5, 2023. To enter the competition, click here.

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Date And Time

November 2, 2023 to
December 31, 2023


29 Palms Visitor Center, 73484 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Twentynine Palms, CA

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