Sugar Republic – an immersive, nostalgic celebration of childhood sweets – is returning to Sydney in November. Sprawling over two floors and 15 spaces in a heritage building in The Rocks, the saccharine experience is the closest you’ll get to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory outside the pages of Roald Dahl. Walls are lined with classic Aussie biscuits (Iced Vovos, Honey Jumbles) and local artists have been enlisted to create eye-catching murals. This year’s exhibition is extra sweet: every visitor gets free lollies and ice-cream as they journey through the experience.
This is like visiting an old-school corner shop, but super-sized: sugar fiends can bathe in a pool of marshmallows, climb inside a giant claw machine and an enormous gumball dispenser, emerge from a larger-than-life birthday cake à la Mr Burns and pose with a giant Allen’s lolly jar.
Try and tell the difference in scent between a pineapple lolly and strawberries and cream at a scratch’n’sniff wall, take a trip to Bubble O’Bill and Jill’s Wild West Saloon, attend a teddy bear’s picnic, and more.
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This time around, Sugar Republic has brought Sydney presenter, DJ, podcaster and entrepreneur Flex Mami on board to design an interactive room. Visit her “Flex Space” and spin a wheel of fortune to find out what the next year has planned for you.
And local artist and designer Frida Las Vegas is bringing her technicolour Australiana aesthetic into the fold with a nine-metre-long artwork, Milk Bar Dreams, which celebrates suburban-childhood treats: Agro cones, teeth lollies, burgers with beetroot and killer pythons. Several other Aussie artists have also contributed to the exhibition, including Lauren Winzer, Harley Jones and Madeleine Golden.
Sugar Republic launched in Melbourne in 2018 and opened in Sydney in 2019. The team behind the experience also established Sydney’s Museum of Love, as well as Christmasland in Melbourne.
Sugar Republic runs from November 6 for a limited time. Tickets are now on sale, and you can cash in your Discover vouchers for entry.