Monday, May 28, 2007

Human Powered

Memorial Day Weekend here in Humboldt County: we've got the same parades and speeches and flag-waving and gravestone scrubbing and super sales events as everywhere else, but we've also got the Kinetic Sculpture Race (due to legal shenanigans, it's the Kinetic Grand Championship or some such this year)--the Triathlon of the Art World. An event designed to let adults feel like they've never, not really ever, grown up. Or maybe it's that kids get to see adults having so much fun, they'll want to grow up.

Whatever it is, it's one of the county's most colorful, well-attended events. And a reminder, every single year, of how much I dislike crowds.

We got the Plaza at about 10 am; John likes to get a good look at all the engineering and this is the best time to ask the riders about their machines. Besides it's just the most exuberant, vibrant part of the race with everyone excited to get started, none of the racers yet wondering what in the world they were thinking would be fun about this, even the most seasoned participants feeling like it's going to be: Jonah was uncharacteristically freaked out by the sculptures at first, but warmed up after a while and by the time we left, was referring to them as Miracle Sculptures--which is an apt description, really. You can see pictures here and here and here of this year's contestants on pavement, sand and water.
The kids both loved this one--from engineering students at UC Davis--because of all the water noodles they used. I don't know how well it floated.
Some years we've gone to see them in the Bay in Eureka and at the finish line in Ferndale, but this year we just went to the Plaza and admired the details.By the time I saw Elvis (he's taken up cycling and is friends with the mayor of Arcata--who knew?), it was time to duck into a bookstore to take refuge from the crowds and head for home to spend the rest of the weekend with a new book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

speaking of hearting crowds, will i be in town for any farmer's markets? (farmers' markets?) i sure hope so, can't wait to see -and probably smell- me some real live (life?) hippies!!!