There still is work to do, but one of the largest events to ever take place in Long Beach may return this September to the city’s waterfront.
Red Bull officials were set to meet this week with the Special Events and Filming Bureau to discuss the popular Flugtag event’s possible return to Long Beach. The “flying day” encourages teams of contestants to create a vessel to launch off of Pine Avenue Pier — with the challenge being to get that makeshift craft as far into the bay as possible.
The event came to Long Beach for the first time in August 2010, and it brought a throng of thousands upon thousands of spectators to the downtown area.
“When you put 100,000 people in your downtown on one given day, there will be impact to a great degree,” said Kraig Kojian, Downtown Long Beach Associates president and CEO. “We thought it was awesome. Businesses prospered, the city was showcased and the waterfront was seen a great light.”
According to Special Events and Planning Manager Tasha Day, city officials will be meeting with Red Bull officials specifically looking at the weekend of Sept. 21. This week will have the first major meeting between the two parties, although there have been rumors since last year that Flugtag could return to Long Beach — then and now, Red Bull has yet to officially respond to inquiries regarding Flugtag in Long Beach.
“Nothing is finalized yet, but we are in the preliminary stages,” Day said. “It would be a huge deal for us. Last time they were here, there were more than 100,000 people at the waterfront and the restaurants were just packed. It was big economically.”
Officials with knowledge of the situation said that preliminary talks involve virtually the same set up as Flugtag had in 2010 — with the waterfront area at Rainbow Harbor all but shut down as teams line up their float/vessels to careen off a launch platform at the end of the Pine Avenue Pier, with spectators crammed all over Shoreline Village and the Lighthouse peninsula.
“My understanding from all the businesses was that it was a great day,” said John Sangmeister, owner of Gladstone’s and DLBA board member. “It was an extremely well behaved crowd. The setup and takedown was quite remarkable. In fact, (everything was cleared out so quickly) we had valet parking by 6 p.m. that weekend.
“Red Bull did a terrific job, their producers were great to work with and it was really, really fun.”
For more information on past Flugtags, visit www.redbullflugtagusa.com.