Humboldt County

California's Quirkiest Race to Soon Roll

Roll, and float, and be pushed, and possibly pulled: Hello again, Kinetic Grand Championship, we're glad to see you.

Tina Kerrigan Photography

MEASURING QUIRK-A-TUDE? That would require some sort of official Quirk-a-meter, or Quirkscale, or a wacky, knob-covered thingamabob that takes into account how many quirky elements an event might offer. Since we're not in possession of any of those devices, though we surely would love to be, we simply have to go by our inner Quirk-tuition, which tells us when something is incredibly and unapologetically quirky. And our deepest Quirk-tuition is pinging over an upcoming Humboldt County lark, the multi-day merriment known as the Kinetic Grand Championship. This outlandish occasion, which is headquartered in Arcata, has delivered daffy delights to onlookers and competitors alike for well over half a century, thanks to the handmade, super-inventive, pretty-dang-weird people-powered vehicles that rule the race.

AND THE RACE SHALL ROLL AGAIN, over Memorial Day Weekend 2022, and when we say "roll" we mean "float," too, and possibly "stay in place," which happens when these mirthfully imagined machines get mud-stuck or delayed in some humorous if frustrating fashion. But face random obstacles, they sometimes do, which makes us adore these on-the-move sculptures more, thanks to the ingenuity required to extricate these whimsical wonders from a variety of sticky situations. The "Triathalon of the Art World" is free to watch, and as it covers some 50 miles, there are plenty of places to check out this cheerful spectacle, which may include colossal cats, shoes you can sit inside, and grinning hippos, too. But a favorite spot to see all of this joyful tomfoolery? It's the starting line, in Arcata, or the Ferndale finish line. The Arcata action is set for May 28, while Victorian-vivacious Ferndale is a wrap on May 30, and between the two?

SPLISH-SPLASH: These engine-less sculptures will hit the waves at Eureka, and, with fortune, hope, a whole bunch of crossed fingers, and human ingenuity, they'll make it out of the water to finish the course. The details on this happening, which is certainly one of California's quirkiest races, at least when it comes to giant cats squaring off against giant shoes, sizable spaceships, and gargantuan green brains? Pedal for this Kinetic Grand Championship site now for times, dates, places, and all of the whimsy we're craving as the summer season officially launches.

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