Kinetic Quirky: Grand Showdown in Humboldt

Some of the most vivacious vehicles are ready for their surreal showdown.

Tina Kerrigan

BEYOND THE BOBBLEHEAD: Many a car owner has done something a bit outlandish, design-wise, to their wheels. It might be a toy glued to the dashboard, or a funky bumper sticker, or curtain-style tassels for the windows, or seat covers in a rainbow of neon hues. But going a bit further is more to the tastes of some auto lovers, or rather leaps and bounds further. Think cars in the shape of Bigfoot's foot, or vehicles re-imagined as gigantic insects, or machines that boast whirligigs and a hundred other whimsical details. If we get into that sector of auto decor we're likely talking about kinetic sculptures, those on-the-move works of art that are famously human-powered. Oh yes, and they're able to leave the road and head into...

THE WATER... when the time comes. That time shall arrive over Memorial Day Weekend when the Kinetic Grand Championship rolls and sails around Humboldt County. While many places around the U.S. have gone kinetic, the heart of Humboldt, from Arcata to Ferndale, is the home of the famous "Triathalon of the Art World." That quirky contest will start at Arcata Plaza on May 28 and end on Main Street in Ferndale on May 30, with stops at Manila Dunes Fest, Loleta Hill, and other spots around the county. Cheering on the kinetic wonders, as well as their always intrepid crews, is a major part of the lively and creative jaunt. A jaunt that celebrates ingenuity, grit, and a general gladness, the kind of gladness one needs to drive a vehicle shaped like an over-sized gnome or flower.

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