Kinetic Cool Rolls (and Floats) in Humboldt County

The Memorial Day Weekend tradition boasts artistic, on-the-move creations and a stirring show of funky endurance.

PEOPLE POWER? We experience it every day, as we push a stroller, or jump on a bicycle, or propel from one place to the next, using our own energy to move. But, very often, the people-powered displays end at our car doors, when engines take over, all to get us from Point A to some further point down the road, be it B, C, or Z. What if you had to take the concept of a people power and apply it to a three-day event, one that would send you, your can-do crew, and a whimsical machine you built from scratch over land and water? And when we say "water," we're also including goopy mud and hard-to-plow-through sand? Then we could rightly call you a kinetic enthusiast, the kind of big-dreamer who makes a date to be in Humboldt County each and every Memorial Day Weekend. For that's where the annual...

KINETIC GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP... takes place, an impressive showdown of imaginative, powered-by-humans vehicles and the humans making those art-amazing vehicles move forward. It's been around for a half century now (Hobart Brown, a metal sculptor, founded the event at the close of the 1960s), and the eye-popping entries that have rolled out over the years, and occasionally gotten stuck along the way, are nothing short of impressive. The creative competition covers "over 40 miles of Humboldt County California's towns, beaches, trails, and (r)ivers every Memorial Day Weekend," and supportive spectators show up to lend competitors some from-the-sidelines spirit.

THE SPECTATORS GUIDE... will give you the where-to-go, what-to-see information. Been wanting to revisit Arcata, Eureka, Ferndale, and other charming towns of the area again? Or see them for the first time? This is your chance. Also, you can dig deeper into the rules of this kinetic happening, so you're fully boned-up on all the must-knows before you go. (Nope, feet cannot make contact with the ground to make machines move.) Now, what vivacious vehicles will you spy in 2019? A dragon breathing mist? A giant turnip? Saying the sky is the limit doesn't take into account that many participants have creative ideas that reach even further. But will those ideas, once built, actually move? That's part of the anticipation and fun of one of the state's funkiest showdowns.

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