Should you ever have cause to complain about the heat this summer, just remember that someone, somewhere is walking around stuffed inside of a giant dinosaur costume.
On Sunday afternoon, that place was the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair. Prevo the dinosaur — or “realistic strolling attraction,” as it says on the business cards his handlers were distributing — stalked the walkways surrounding Jubilation Grove on the Centre Hall fairgrounds.
A crowd followed close behind, angling for photos or even physical contact with what might as well have been a very exotic-looking Chihuahua on a leash — albeit, much larger.
We treat the dinosaur as if it’s an actual live animal and as if it’s a pet.
“We treat the dinosaur as if it’s an actual live animal and as if it’s a pet,” John Bloom, patriarch of the family behind Grand Illusions by the Blooms, said.
Bloom, his wife and three daughters will be performing their magic act throughout Grange Fair, but a daily appearance by the dinosaur is good for publicity.
Fans are encouraged to post their pictures of Prevo on the DinosaurXperience Facebook page.
“We got into the dinosaur business just because it brings an additional attraction,” Bloom said.
His wife, Christine Barry, is the one inside the suit, relying on video monitors and a harness to move.
We’re trying to give them a great memory that’s going to last a lifetime.
Bloom and their children help to guide her while she’s in dino-mode.
“We try to go to different vendors of the booths,” Bloom said.
Children present at the fair on Sunday seemed to run the gamut of emotions in response to Prevo.
One boy was terrified to pose for a photo with the dinosaur, instead opting to run up, pat the creature’s hand and sprint back to his guardian — a giant smile running from ear to ear.
That kind of audience satisfaction is high on Bloom’s list.
“We’re trying to give them a great memory that’s going to last a lifetime,” Bloom said.