Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
MCCOVEY COVE — The smell of sugary energy drinks mixed with the essence of bay water and an occasional whiff of weed is still invading my nose.
And the roar of more than 100,000 people cheering on home-made aircraft is still ringing through my skull.
No joke, I really had no idea what to expect from my first-ever Red Bull Flugtag. Even after seeing countless commercials and reading every team’s bio, I still felt as though I was walking into this event blind.
And, as fate would have it, all the research that I had done wasn’t enough to prepare me for a crowd of nearly 116,000 people that surrounded McCovey Cove and invaded AT&T Park for the 2012 Red Bull Flugtag San Francisco.
The crowd wasn’t just full of adrenaline junkies or energy drink addicts either; Flugtag touts itself as a full-on family affair. Marcy from San Leandro brought her two kids — all decked out in new gear from the Giants Dugout Store, I might add:
“This really is a family friendly show, you know, and I think more parents should think about bringing their kids to this. They’d probably really enjoy it.”
Apparently parents don’t have a problem with their kids watching skits by teams like Delta Bravo, who pulled off their pants to reveal American flag-patterned speedos and then danced to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
The festivities started at 11 am, where fans from all corners of the Bay could take photos of — and with — the aircraft and the crazy, costumed teams that built them.
There was even a taste of an all-American sporting event as the crowd cheered for the National Anthem and watched two members of the Red Bull Air Force sky dive from who-knows-how-high up and land perfectly — and I mean perfectly — on the “Red Bull” emblazoned platform below.
What followed was 3 hours of zany skits, funky mixed music, and a lot of costumed participants falling off the three-story platform into the freezing cove water.
Some teams got some solid air time, such as Team Skyjackers, who’s Jack-N-The-Box-themed plane glided 35 feet from the platform.
Other crafts, such as CAPS Paranormal, completely fell apart before leaving the runway.
But the winner of the whole shindig was Team Movember, who not only soared the furthest — a whole 54 feet! — but were also out to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
And those crazy “Californauts!” who told me they were going to make the crowd remember who they were? They most certainly did, as they took home the People’s Choice Award.
Even in the midst of all the shenanigans, I was able to catch up with the lovely Frida Lay and Hell On Heels. When asked how far they thought their craft would fly, team member Shawn replied:
“Um, do you know where Oakland is?”
Their craft would take a nose dive and Frida would do a full tumble into the water, but hey! They still looked fabulous.