When Michael brought the Rubber Boot Race to our attention earlier, I was intrigued. I imagined a cross between a toga party and Pamplona’s running of the bulls with a few rubber duckies thrown in for good measure. With that in mind, I threw my camera and my daughter into the van and off we went.
My enthusiasm was heightened when, upon parking, I spotted a couple of participants in black rubber boots with pink polka dots. This is what I came to see – silliness. The Santa Ana Zoo showed up in a caterpillar costume and the queen and her court – complete with plastic swords and shields – had the right idea.
Still, I left a bit disappointed. The event seemed more like a sober
neighborhood block party. You know – the ones where teenagers are still asleep
and the conversation is dominated by Edith’s new fichus. I was hoping for Mardi
Gras and I got the ladies gardening club. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad – I just
got the sense that not everyone there was really into it. With this in
mind, I have a few suggestions for the organizers:
1. Silliness sells – dirty silliness sells more. I’m talking mud – the more mud the better. Saturday’s event was, well, dusty. And in my mind dust and rubber boots don’t go together nearly as well as mud and rubber boots. I suspect that many of the kids there would’ve had more fun had there been a mud hole. Consider at least 100 yards of sloppy mud near the finish line. A contest for the muddiest contestant. And while you’re at, why not a little water. My hats off to the Garden Ladies who came in full rain regalia – they had the right idea! (What were you wearing under the ponchos?) Sure, I appreciated the young ladies in their pajamas and the old ladies in their red hats. It just seems that rubber boots beg for rain and mud. Just turn the park sprinklers on!
2. Welcome the rapscallions, knaves, and pranksters. Target the college crowd, the kids with a little disposable income who would jump at the chance to run around in the mud wearing rubber boots with others of a like mind. Think spring break meets non-contact mud wrestling. Advertise to the fraternities and sororities at CSUF, UCI and Chapman University. A little competition never hurt participation.
These suggestions might not fit well with the neighborhood-family image of the event. But I did stop short of suggesting a rubber boot pub crawl!