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Jan '13

Ice Cream Hugger

South of the Border's Pedro wants you to indulge your lust for lactose!

SUBMITTED BY: Brian Henderson and Anne Donelan   LOCATION: I-95, Dillon, South Carolina

Anyone who has ventured on a Florida roadtrip from any East Coast destination can attest to the marketing power of the South of the Border truck stop, a.k.a. “America’s Favorite Highway Oasis.”

It’s relentless Beat Down Marketing, pummeling you with billboard updates every mile a la the “100 Bottles of Beer” song. You’re now 39 miles away… You’re now 38 miles away… 37, 36, 35.

When the attack on your senses finally stops, who wouldn’t want to hug the nearest ice cream?

(Freelance photojournalist and cameraman Brian Henderson is a prolific contributor to Tacky Tourist Photos, filing dispatches spanning from San Francisco’s scrumptious Golden Gate Bridge to Uganda’s magical Equator line).

Jul '11

Fake Pretzel, Fake Cleavage, Real Wedding

Bringing a bit of Bavarian kitsch to the mountains of Tennessee!

SUBMITTED BY: Eartha Kitsch   LOCATION: Rock City / Chattanooga, Tennessee (2007)

Mr. and Mrs. Kitsch didn’t exchange matrimonial vows as their Oktoberfest alter-egos, but this fabulous photo-op was the centerpiece at their Lover’s Leap reception on Lookout Mountain.

As you adjust to your new body image, you can actually see seven different states from the peak — Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

“Sadly,” Eartha reports, “neither the giant pretzel nor the cleavage are real!”

(Eartha Kitsch is a Nashville-based writer who loves “crazy old Western things, googly eyes, thrift shops, swishy skirts, vintage recipes, and photos/stories about people she doesn’t know. She blogs at “Ranch Dressing With Eartha Kitsch,” and yes, she’s a huge Catwoman/Eartha Kitt fan!)

Jun '10

Farming for Puns


SUBMITTED BY: Natalie K.   LOCATION: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2010)

Natalie got her mother-in-law Florence (above left) and parents Lloyd and Marilyn (below) to channel their inner John Cougar Mellencamps.

Not so long ago, seeing a farm in America was a common occurrence. Now, at the Barefoot Landing tourist area, farmers are quaint fictional characters — like mermaids or circus strongmen.


Oct '09

Our Hole-In-The-Head Theory

Who can resist the hole-in-head tourist photo-op?

Who can resist the hole-in-head tourist photo-op?

SUBMITTED BY: Robert Rizzo    LOCATION: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2009)

If you take a piece of plywood, paint a goofy character — any character — cut a hole in the head and prop the wood up in the middle of the desert, within a half an hour, a busload of tourists will show up and poke their face through it.


This culturally sensitive photo-op is at Tiki Jim’s, a classy South Carolina chain of novelty t-shirt shops that also do a brisk side business in fart machines and “fart alarms.”

(Robert Rizzo is one of the most respected photojournalists in the Carolinas).

Aug '09

The Sand Castle Prophecies: Mitt Romney or Ron Paul will be the next U.S. president

These political sand sculptures at Myrtle Beach survived almost as long as Mitt Romney and Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaigns

These sand sculptures survived almost as long as Mitt Romney & Ron Paul's presidential campaigns.

SUBMITTED BY: Peter Koziell   LOCATION: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2008)

Natural sand formations in the form of Republican Party leaders just don’t show up on the beach every day.

Peter immediately interpreted his discovery as a sign from God: Either Mitt Romney or Ron Paul will defeat Barack Obama in 2012 to be the next president of the United States.

Based on Sand Romney’s creepy Jim Carrey-like facial expressions, we’re not sure if we should be more scared of him or more scared of the kooky Libertarian.

Truth be told, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce commissioned sand sculptures of all the Republican and Democratic candidates for president, displaying them in majestic Mount Rushmore fashion before the 2008 South Carolina Primary debates:

Sand sculptures celebrating the 2008 South Carolina Republican Primary Debates

Sand sculptures celebrating the 2008 South Carolina Republican Primary Debates

(Peter Koziell, who used to be a hurricane-chasing news cameraman in South Carolina, is a co-founder of Tacky Tourist Photos).