By now you've heard that over 80,000 people gathered this Saturday on the banks of the Willamette River to watch Red Bull Flugtag. And those 80,000 souls witnessed some impressive feats of gravity. One after another, outsized roller skates, Chinese Dragons and hand grenades plummeted unceremoniously into the murky water. (Click here
to learn more about the event.)
Photos by WW's Jennifer Newsted:
But most people missed the real show—by which I mean, of course, the outlandish spectators themselves. Particularly those who had chosen to come in boats.
Yes, the view from the water was really something. Far off in the distance, there was a 25-foot platform printed with gigantic corporate insignias. From time to time, smallish specks would drop from the platform, pushed or pulled by tiny dots, presumably people.
I've heard that there were several loudspeakers in Tom McCall Park, designed to provide running commentary on the specks and the dots. But all that was completely inaudible on the water, drowned out by copious amounts of butt rock emanating from boat speakers. Lynyrd Skynrd, Quiet Riot, Twiztid Sister. The excitement of a more or less successful flying machine was nothing next to the visceral thrill of the Guns ‘n' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine."
Like the groundhog, boat owners gingerly tested to see whether the winter had in fact ended. Removing their shirts, they measured the extent to which their seasonal bellies had receded, often with disappointing results. This, of course, merely corroborates the old saying (with apologies to General MacArthur): old bellies never die, they just sprout hair.
But really, what is Flugtag, if not an excuse to debut your brimming breadbasket? Less appealing were those who voluntarily dipped their pale paunch into the river's dubious depths. Despite the fact that the Willamette has recently been shown to contain more than a little dookie
, many hirsute revelers chased foam footballs right off the decks of their ski boats and into the waiting arms of fecal coliforms. Why not? It's the most fun you'll ever have with facultatively-anaerobic, rod-shaped, gram-negative, non-sporulating bacteria
But the day was not without its enticements. Perhaps fifty feet from where WW
's canoes were parked, a houseboat boasted three generations of comely country women, all dancing on the same roof. PBR's in hand, they barely noticed the commotion on the riverbank, preferring instead to wag their sunburnt bikini bottoms to the tune of Toby Keith's “Beer for my Horses.” Did you know that “Flugtag” actually means “Nascar Tattoo” in German?
Photos from WW friend James Schmock: