Flugtag returns to SF, makes a splash
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By Pedro Toledo
More than 100,000 eager spectators flooded into AT&T Park and around McCovey Cove, but on this brisk November afternoon they weren’t cheering for San Francisco’s world champion Giants.
They were cheering for a different kind of splash landing at the Red Bull Flugtag event, where 32 teams competed to launch their human powered and piloted flying machines furthest across the bay before crashing into the chilly water.
With colorful names like Macho Nacho and Sugar Skulls, each team danced atop a 30-foot ramp in the middle of McCovey Cove before launching off into the bay as screaming spectators watched with anticipation.
Each team was judged on their “flight” distance, creativity and the all-important showmanship.
Megan Martinez, 20, drove up from San Jose with four of her friends to catch the action.
“This is so much fun,” she said, screaming with joy. “I wish we could do it every year!”
Flugtag (meaning “flight day” in German), began in San Francisco in 2002 and has been held in cities around the nation.
Looking out from the walkway over right field, hundreds of boats could be seen filling the bay around McCovey Cove.
AT&T Park was littered with 20- and 30-year-olds who took the opportunity to run around the bases, throw imaginary pitches off the mound and stash a few blades of Giants championship grass into their pockets in between watching Flugtag action on the jumbotron and sipping beer.
The massive crowd was not disappointed.
“Team Movember” took first place with a flight of 54 feet, followed by “Sugar Skull 138” in second place and “Team Skyjackers” in third.
“The Californauts” won the coveted People’s Choice award, due mostly to their bright gold short-shorts and colorful makeup.
While receiving the award, their wig-toting pilot emphatically stated in his best California dude accent, “We like people, and it looks like people like us! Look at all these freakin boats, man!”
The bright beaming smiles on everyone’s faces proved him right.
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