Scandals Represents at Portland's Red Bull Flugtag

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Photo credit: Lynn Morrow Photo credit: Lynn Morrow
By Shaley Howard After seven years the Red Bull Flugtag returned to the city of Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park Saturday. An enormous crowd of over 100,000 fans bore the 100 degree heat to watch one of the most unusual and entertaining events ever. Flugtag is a German word that actually means “flying day.†And although there isn’t a ton of actual flying that seems to happen, there is more than enough entertainment, laughs and cheerful spirit to make up for it. This international event challenges teams from all over to create their own unique flying machine and launch them as far as possible in the air off the 30-feet-long Red Bull Flugtag ramp. Most crafts typically plunge headfirst into the water below but the spectators absolutely love it. Each entry is judged on the distance their craft “flies,†showpersonship, and creativity. All crafts must meet certain specifications such as wings measuring no more than 30 feet tip to tip, and they must be human-powered, i.e., no motors or “sneaky elastic bands.†Anyone can enter, and all teams dress up in themes and give hilarious performances prior to lift off. There were 40+ entries at Portland’s Flugtag with teams such as the “Airpugsâ€â€”a giant pug flying machine; “I Dream of Jeannie,†which secretly unbottled a mini hang glider that soared over 60 feet—a real crowd pleaser; the “Hovering Heifers†from Texas; and Portland’s own “Scandalicious.†Team Scandalicious represented our own local gay bar that’s been supporting and representing the LGBTQ community for over 35 years. Their homemade craft—the flaming “Stark Street Phoenixâ€â€”had glimmering red, yellow, and orange wings and, of course, plenty of boas! The team consisted of Munro Rost, David Fones, Nick Hansen, Matt Ossont, and Kurtis Janitch. And although they didn’t win, they were certainly a local crowd favorite and were elated just to be chosen to compete.
Team Scandalicious Team Scandalicious
“There were about 500 applicants to get into the event from around the country,†commented Rost. We got a call right before Pride congratulating us on being one of the 45 teams chosen out of the 500.†“We did this as the Stark Street Phoenix, as Stark Street used to be what was called the Pink Triangle, an area of Portland that used to be predominately gay bars and clubs. Most have left due to developers and we’re the last one standing. We’re doing very well and are thankful to the LGBTQ community and customers that have supported us and kept us going and alive. So that’s why we did the phoenix rising from the ashes,†said Ossont. Around 3 p.m. the Coast Guard unfortunately shut this year’s competition down early, as too many boats were obstructing traffic on the Willamette, so many entries that spent thousands of dollars and countless hours in creating their flying crafts did not get to compete. However, since the Red Bull Flugtag is such a crowd favorite and will most likely be around for a very long time, perhaps those unable to perform Saturday can further perfect their homemade flying machines and dazzle future flugtag fans.