A small yellow plane flew figure-eight patterns above Bayfront Park, trailing a banner that read: "What the Flugtag are you doing down there?" The answer: We were packed shoulder-to-shoulder and belly-to-butt, perspiring like pigs in a superheated pen. It was noon, the sun was brutal, and the cumulative heat of several thousand human bodies made it all basically unbearable.
Girls in bikini tops, cutoffs, and Nike Dunks were so thoroughly soaked in sweat that it looked like they'd just bathed in baby oil. Overweight, tattooed dudes dripped salty tears into their lukewarm beer. Dogs wallowed motionless on the grass. But somehow we mustered the energy to laugh and jeer at these dreamers, goofs, and idiots trying to fly across Biscayne Bay.
Ostensibly, the Red Bull Flugtag is a human-powered flight competition, but success isn't really the objective. More than anything, the point is glorious failure. Sure, the judges might pick a winner based on psedo-official criteria like "distance," "creativity," and "showmanship." We the mob, however, are a bloodthirsty bunch who want to see the pilot of a pizza pie crash face first into the water, smashed at impact into a sauce-splattered doughy mass. (Indeed, Orlando's Save Salad, Toss Pizza team was among Saturday's biggest and best losers.) The formula is simple: Pain equals points.
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Other notable fails of the day included the Flying Manatee, Team Bust-a-Nut's doomed acorn craft, the Flying Luchadores' flightless wrestling ring, Team Kiss' ax bass, and the Burger Mobile. The show was pretty much a single sequence repeated, over and over, for two and a half hours: Some dumb dancing, a "comedy" skit, running takeoff, and immediate wreckage. But when drunk, dehydrated, and dangerously close to heat stroke, this kind of cheap, repetitive slapstick is hilarious. We stayed till the very hot and sticky end.
Now, if you're the kind of reader actually interested in the official scorecard, we have to ask: What's your problem? Do you have something against real fun? Don't you like to watch the crashing and the burning? Anyway, here are your results: The judges (arty cartoonist Lebo, high flyers Kirby Chambliss and Miles Daisher, actress and ex-Miss Panama Patricia de Leon, DJ Irie, and Y100 Miami's Ninaliscia Osorio) gave the gold medal to Palm Beach's Team Formula Flug and its winged Formula One racecar. These fluggers posted a 54-foot fligh, the longest of the day. It was 101 feet short of the US record and 141 off the world record, though.
Conclusion: We are a hot, sweaty city full of glorious losers.
Check out the Red Bull Flugtag Miami slideshow.