Flugtag set to soar over McCovey Cove


You’ve got to hand it to San Francisco. We certainly know how to entertain our residents and tourists with some of the liveliest — and often, the zaniest — events an urban environment can accommodate.

We got Tony Bennett to sing to the entire city on Valentine’s Day. (Almost.)

We dedicate one Sunday every October to S&M and bondage.

Heck, we just dedicated a whole day to our native baseball franchise, equipped with parade and City Hall ceremony and more confetti than any person should ever see in one sitting.

But San Francisco’s shenanigans would not be complete without the theatrics and aerodynamics of Red Bull Flugtag, set to take over McCovey Cove this Saturday.

Debuting in Vienna, Austria in 1992, the Red Bull Flugtag — derived from the German phrase “flying day” — celebrates teams of average Joes and their home-made aircrafts.

All inevitably end up in the water, but the costumes, skits and creatively-constructed mini-planes put together by each team make this quirky event a must-see.

More than 20 teams will launch themselves off a platform into that cold McCovey Cove water. These three caught the eye of Team SFBay, sure to win you over when they take flight this Saturday at 11 a.m.:

The Newbies: A team made up of coworkers, team “Arc Kelly” is also comprised of fresh blood experiencing Flugtag for the first time. But according to team member Allison Zender, being the rookie team has its advantages:

“You don’t have any preconceived notions of what will work and what won’t, so you don’t sacrifice your vision. Also, you’re too naïve to be afraid, so you tend to take bigger risks.”

For any readers out there that found the pun in their team name; yes, their title is an ode to Mr Trapped-In-The-Closet himself. Says Zender:

“I expect (the crowd) to go home, listen to R. Kelly, and get it on after they see us fly.”

 The “Bro-stronauts”: While the “Californauts!” grabbed inspiration from NASA and Red Bull Stratos, they’re mixing in “Cali love” with their project for Saturday’s festivities.

They’re also mixing in experience, being that three of their members have competed in Red Bull events before. Team member Rafael Sencion says:

“This ain’t our first rodeo! As veterans we know what the crowd wants, so we plan on delivering.”

A People’s Choice winner  at Red Bull Soapbox LA 2011 — under the name The Baked Muscles — and a competitor in this year’s Red Bull Schlittentag Alpine Meadows, the boys of “Californauts!” are prepping to make their mark in the San Francisco crowd:

“We are going to make sure they remember who we are!”

The Glitz: Any team with a name as sassy as “Hell On Heels!” is instantly going to grab my attention.

But there’s more to this team than just a flashy aircraft and famed Chicago drag queen Frida Lay piloting the operation. Team member Brenden Chrisman tells SFBay:

“Chicago and San Francisco have such a strong history of supporting the LGBT community and we are thrilled to bring our show on the road. … The Red Bull Flugtag is an amazing and exciting event, and quite frankly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

As their team’s banner implies, Hell On Heels! will take the platform at McCovey Cove in a 15-foot-by-10-foot red stiletto, and they’ll all be sporting five-and-a-half in red leather boots.

Quite appropriately, their theme is “These Boots Are Made For Walkin.’”

Sounds like this team is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, right? Chrisman says:

“At the end of the day, we are a bunch of boys wearing high heels trying to fly. … What’s not to like about that?”

Red Bull Flugtag hits San Francisco this Saturday at McCovey Cove, behind AT&T Park. Heck yeah, Team SFBay will be there with full coverage.

Festivities begin at 11 a.m., with crafts taking flight at 1 p.m. For more information, check out redbullflugtagusa.com.

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