HISTORIC WHIMSY: Pretty much any place can become known for doing any great thing, if enough people find enough inspiration and put their minds, hearts, and hands to it. But kinetic creations of an outlandish and elaborate sort? Northern California, specifically the counties of Mendocino and Humboldt, seem to have a near lock on all matter kinetic. Major events throughout the year draw fans of people-powered machines and sculptures, but it isn't just a matter of cheering on the drivers and inventors. Fans get Involved, with a capital I. Look no further than The Willits Kinetic Carnivale, which chugga-chuggas, old-train-y style, into the Mendo city over the Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8 weekend.
STEAMPUNK INNOVATION: The weekend's Handcar Races and Roots of Motive Power Steam-Up will get a lot of looks, as both events should: The hand cars are fabulous feats of engineering and imagination, and the Steam-Up will through cogs and boilers into magnificent gear. But costumes and crafts and cheekily highbrow hobnobbing will also get the love. One doesn't go to a kinetic event that has a steampunkian heart without packing one's corset, goggles, and parasol.
AND THE GRAND BALL: And if you want to get really fancy-pants -- well, don't worry, not *too* fancy-pants, just a little gussied -- the Sept. 7 confab'll do ya. Aerial acrobats, marionettes, live tunes, and all the well-oiled mustachery and suspenders and bustles that you want, all in one happy place. Okay, kinetic mavens and lovers of ye olde fantastic Victoriana: This is your weekend. Prepare to wow and be wowed, as is tradition.
A ticket for the Grand Ball is $30. For more info on all the times and steamy stuff, click click click.