Photos: Red Bull’s Flugtag event returns to Nashville after 10 years

The following story was updated on Sept. 25, 2017 at 6:34 p.m. to more accurately reflect the number of people who attended the event. Sidelines regrets the error. 

Photos and story by Sabrina Tyson / Contributing Writer

Red Bull came to Nashville for the first time since 2007 for their Flugtag competition Saturday. The competition brought in teams from all over the country to see who could build the best flying machine and test them by jumping off of a 30-foot platform into the Cumberland River.

Flugtag, a word meaning “fly day” in German, is a competition hosted by Red Bull that started in 1992 and was first held in San Francisco. Red Bull has held over 100 Flugtag events since its inception. The world record was set by “The Chicken Whisperers” in 2013, whose flying contraption flew 258 feet during the Long Beach, California event.

There were 36 teams that competed in the Nashville event. The winner, team Ground Control, traveled 81 feet. Teams are judged not only by distance traveled but also by performance and creativity.

Adam “Dr. Mcfly” Fortanno, who was a member of the 610 Stompers team, said that they named their flying machine “The 610 Stompin-burg” after the Hindenburg, a German flying craft that crashed in 1937.

“We’re probably going to crash and burn,” Fortanno said about his team’s flying contraption, a giant shoe with a mustache.

Fortanno sported a mustache of his own, the signature look of Stomper’s all-male dance team based out of New Orleans.

Teams created many unique flying machines for this event, ranging from a flying buffalo to a plane in a bottle. With creativity being one of the aspects the judges would take into consideration, many of the teams had contraptions that were deemed comical and original. 

Free Red Bull was passed out to attendees during the 90-degree day on the Cumberland River. There was an estimated 80,000 people who attended the event. Phillip Englehart, 23, said that he really enjoyed the event and that he loved feeling a sense of community in Nashville.

“It was great seeing a bunch of people come together downtown for such a fun event,” Englehart said.

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