Wind festival set for Saturday

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson The following trophies for the Downtown Wind Festival’s Pedal ARTitude Rally are on display at the Clovis MainStreet office. MainStreet Executive Director Robyne Baubien said the aim was to make the trophies tacky, “and I think we’ve excelled.”

Kevin Wilson

The joke goes, John Muir said, that wind helped establish Clovis because settlers came in covered wagons, stopped at the future site of Greene Acres Park and said, “We’ll just stop here until the wind dies down.”

The joke, and Saturday’s Downtown Wind Festival, could be argued to have a similar premise — not really sensible, but an entertaining notion.

The inaugural festival is scheduled to begin 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Clovis, with crafts, entertainment and the Pedal ARTitude Rally — a bike race with an arbitrary scoring system and set of rules centered on being fun and ridiculous.

“It’s our first year for the event,” said Robyne Beaubien, executive director of Clovis MainStreet and organizer of the festival. “We have modest goals.”

Details of the festival, and rally rules, are available at clovismainstreet.org.

The event follows another wind-centered event — the Cannon Kite Karnival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Doc Stewart Park. The Karnival, in its seventh year, is expected to bring about 1,000 people, Cannon Air Force Base Community Center officials said.

The event — free and open to the public — will include games, food, kite-flying demonstrations and a limited supply of free kites for children.

Once the Kite Karnival ends, the hope is that many of those residents come down to the Wind Festival, where kids can be entertained by Bebop the Clown and make crafts, and the crowd can be entertained by the rally.

Beaubien said there were “six or seven” entries as of Wednesday afternoon, but they’ll take entries up to the start of the festival.

Rally vehicles can be as simple as a decorated bike but can consist of as many as four connected bicycles. Rules dictate that competitors must go down Main Street starting at Sixth Street, approach a podium with a sock monkey puppet to say why they love Clovis, turn at Fourth Street and throw water balloons at a target.

At stake are trophies, which will be arbitrarily awarded. Muir, the festival’s committee chairman, said that was fitting because “the points are arbitrarily given” and there’s no rule that says the highest scorer has to win.

The trophies are wooden, with bicycle parts affixed and labeled with a 1980s label maker.

“We told everybody they were going to be tacky,” Beaubien said, “and I think that we’ve excelled.”