Published on July 3rd, 2012 | by Adrian Simpson0
Full Moon Ahead! The Amtrak Mooning Festival
From ostrich racing to hurling cow faeces, there are some American festivals out there based around some truly unorthodox activities. In comparison to Montana’s Testicle Festival (don’t ask) The Mooning of the Amtrak is relatively mundane, but it’s still enough to raise an eyebrow here at Chillisauce.
This is a case of does-what-it-says-on-the-tin; every year on the second Saturday of July, thousands flock to Mugs Away Saloon in Laguna Niguel, California to – and there is really no way to sugar-coat this – bare their arses to Amtrak trains along a chain-link fence. I suppose I could supplant the word ‘arses’ with ‘bottoms’ but one shouldn’t gift-wrap a turd.
Evolving from its ever so humble origins (allegedly it began when a local chap said he would buy a beer for anyone who mooned the passing train with him) the event has become a local phenomenon, attracting over 8,000 mooners in 2008. People even book train tickets especially for the day, simply for the peculiar joy of riding past a wall of rear ends in the Californian sunshine (sun-cream is a must). Through its evolution it has become something of a mini Mardi Gras with vendors beginning to serve food and drink, plenty of party RVs (that’s ‘camper van’ to us Brits) turning up and various instances of mostly-nude party girls being hosed down in paddling pools, all in the name of titillation.
As beautifully unglamorous as The Mooning seems, it is extremely beloved by its devoted attendees in a trashy, endearing sort of way. “There is no where else I’d rather be today”, said Carol Wickenheisser who attended the event with her granddaughter. Ramona Lotito has driven out to the Laguna Hills annually since it began over 30 years ago. “We all have a good time,” says Lotito, “that’s what it’s all about!” For something which on the surface seems pretty degrading, there is a pervading sense of fun and goodwill amongst those that participate. I must say it is rather infectious.
Alas, not all are as enamoured with the festivities as this posterior proud pack, and recently the event has been met with trouble from the local authorities. As the party reached record-breaking scope back in ’08, it was eventually shut down by the Orange County Sheriff’s department. Since then, the festivities have decreased drastically and the event is more heavily policed than before. However, all is not lost. Since the event began attracting the attention of the authorities, the diligent attendees have begun assisting and unofficially organising the event through various websites, in the interest of keeping it under control.
Now, with a little over a month until it’s time to drop trouser, lift skirt and holler, the preparations have begun for the Mooning of the Amtrak 2012. Personally, I can’t see myself rushing out to book a flight to CA for next month but by jove do I admire the chaps and chapettes who do. I mean, what is more honourable than getting off your tits and shoving your arse up against a fence at a passing train in the face of adversity? Not a bloody lot.