Mayor wants to eclipse city’s mooning festival

It’s the type of event that a mayor might normally look forward to–one that brings people together and puts them in a celebratory mood. No matter that the celebratory mood makes the people here want to drop trou and start mooning trains.

This Saturday, Laguna Niguel, California will be celebrating its annual “Moon Over Amtrak.” Last year, between 8,000-10,000 people participated in the day-long event. Revelers line Camino Capistrano, a road that parallels the railroad tracks, and moon the trains–sometimes waiting a few minutes and other times an hour between moons.

For the past 30 years, the event has been a city tradition. But this year the new mayor, Robert Ming, isn’t liking it one bit–complaining of its crowds and drunkenness. Of course, 39 year-old Ming, who’s been in office since December, has never even participated in the event. (Just a thought: maybe he should join his constituency and give it a whirl before he tries to shut it down, eh?)

City officials are limiting the revelry as much as they can without banning the event entirely. The city began the (ahem) crackdown in March, agreeing on an ordinance that bans on-street parking from Thursday to Sunday of this week. To cover even more bases, they also banned drinking alcohol or urinating in public.

A semi-official website is up that lists the train passings between 7:35 a.m. and 11:22 p.m.–a total of 37 times throughout the day. I like that the event still seems to have an organic, ‘now what are we doing?’ feel to it. The website recommends that people “bring a wire coat hanger to make a hook to hang your lantern from the chain link fence” for the nighttime moonings. And it also answers the question that I know you were begging to ask: “Can I decorate my butt?” The answer is yes.

Moon Over Amtrak started back in 1979 when a bar patron offered to buy a drink to anyone who would moon the next train. One man took him up on it and–flash–a tradition was born.


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