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Pasadena's Fork in the Road: Now a vibrant epicenter of altruism

Ken Marshall (left) with Bob Stane in front of their
Ken Marshall (left) with Bob Stane in front of their "Fork in the Road" sculpture in Pasadena.
Kevin Ferguson

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Right here in Pasadena, where Pasadena Avenue splits off into two streets there's a fork in the road. Literally. The guerilla art appeared at the intersection of Pasadena and St. John avenues in November of 2009. After being out of commission for over a year, the fork came back for good this past October.

The fork was a gift to mark the 75th birthday of Altadena business owner Bob Stane from his friend, Ken Marshall. The two had joked for years that a giant fork should be erected at the Pasadena intersection. Stane remembers telling Marshall, "To properly get us involved in the art situation we needed something spectacular like a fork in the road."

Taking his words to heart, Marshall built an 18-foot tall wooden fork and rallied Stane's other
friends to help him stick it in a Caltrans median.

Although the utensil was put up without the permission of the city, it's popularity with locals allowed it to stay up for seven months. "The people driving by [and] the media were so enthralled by the fork that Pasadena did not have the desire to pull it down right away," Marshall said. The city of Pasadena finally did take it down in June 2010, citing safety and liability concerns.

But the fork made its comeback when Marshall bought the necessary liability insurance, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

Marshall says the fork is the largest this side of the Mississippi River. Not only is the landmark now a permitted piece of art, it's now a focal point for doing good deeds. This Thanksgiving, the fork played host to "Put the Fork in Hunger" a food drive. This month, a toy drive will be held at the artwork where people can drive up and hand over donations to volunteers. Marshall hopes the toy drive, which will benefit local Pasadena charities, will be the largest in the city's history.