This Wimbledon fan has learned to wing it

Venice Beach resident Chris Fava stands out at Wimbledon every year with his unusual costumes. (Sam Farmer / Los Angeles Times)

About 40,000 spectators attend Wimbledon each day, many dressed in similar tennis garb and for the most part indistinguishable from each other.

Chris Fava stands out in the crowd.

Fava, 41, an ardent tennis fan who lives in Venice Beach, has worn a different elaborate Wimbledon-themed costume each of the past five tournaments. This year, he’s dressed as Rufus the Hawk, the bird of prey used by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to scare the pigeons off the 42-acre grounds.

Fava goes the distance with his costume, wearing a leather bomber’s helmet painted in Wimbledon purple and green and designed to look like a falconry hood, a shawl of feathers that fits over his shoulders and runs down his arms to simulate wings, yellow gloves with long talons, and brown shorts over yellow tights. It’s unseasonably warm this year, so the get-up is hot.

“I thought feathers were supposed to keep you cool,” Fava said. “They don’t.”

The costume is no more unwieldy, though, than his previous four: Blue Sky Guy, Flower Boy, Mr. Sunshine and Strawberry Man.

It surprises some people that Fava gets through the gates, considering the somewhat rigid rules of the tournament. But he said the organizers warmly embrace him, considering he’s mindful of the rules, such as no blocking the view of spectators behind you, and being respectful of others, and, perhaps in this case, no squawking like a bird.

“Everyone loves it now that they know me,” said Fava, who maintains the Instagram account @Chrisfavabean.

He isn’t supplied Wimbledon tickets, but instead camped out and was first in line to buy them. He got Centre Court seats for Monday and Wednesday this week.

As for what he’ll wear next year, he hasn’t even considered it.

“I don’t want to think about that now,” he said. “I don’t even dress up for Halloween. I get burned out on wearing a costume.”

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer

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