The Ball is in Arcata's court — the one named for a turnip-like vegetable, that is. This Saturday, May 21 at 7 p.m., the Arcata Community Center hosts one of Humboldt's grandest (and ka-ray-ziest) parties benefiting its grandest annual event. The 2016 Rutabaga Ball ($10, $7 if you bring your own cup), the royal counterpart to the Grand Kinetic Championship, gets the glory going a week before the three-day race and gives us our Rutabaga Queen.
Contestants vying for the crown compete in three rounds: Ball Gown, Water Crossing and "Talent." Talent is loosely defined as indicated by the use of quotations. Playful irreverence is the order of things. Creativity counts, as does entourage enthusiasm. The louder the audience screams for contestants, the more it impresses the judges (past and forever Queens), since the ability to whip up participation is deemed a very Queenly quality. That, and knowing how and with what to bribe (so we've heard).
This year's contestants are: Lady Lasagna, Baron von Snooz, Princess Candie, Sparkle Lumina, April Shower, Mr. Mustachio and Venus Verde. There is no age or gender requirement to run for Rutabaga Queen; this is the Kinetic Universe, after all. The only rule to rule is that the fun is the law of the land. Join emcees Amy and Cliff Berkowitz, and Queen Lotta Paintbuckets, who organized the sparkling spectacle, in the revelry. Libations by Mad River Brewery, specialty cocktails by the Queens and live music by Lizzy and the Moonbeams keep the fun alive. By order of the court.