Obtainium Cup Turns Up The Creative Juices with it’s Annual Contraptor’s Rally

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When I first stumbled upon Mare Island’s Obtainium Cup - Contraptor’s Rally, I felt like I’d fallen into the rabbit’s hole; that was three years ago and I’ve gone every year since.

It’s the fifth year of the zany event which feels like a mini family-friendly Burning Man. That isn’t a surprise when you realize the main force behind this Vallejo event, Obtainium Works, frequents the desert festival building art vehicles reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle, or a giant cat, or dreamy dragon muppet mobiles. 

The race between human powered vehicles and bicycles jaunts through 4 miles of post-apocalyptic Mare Island, and includes obstacles and challenges such as ducking low flying monkeys, avoiding angry robots, keeping one’s wits at mad tea parties, the bribing of local royalty, and if that wasn’t crazy enough for you, drivers also have to avoid zombies as well. 

Racers not only compete for their name on the Obtanium Cup, a unique trophy of their own and bragging rights, they also get points for how well they cheat, and sometimes they also get trophies for crashing into their own teammates.

Obtainium Works also frequently holds other events. The next upcoming event is October 29-30 a “Haul O’Ween - Murder Mystery,” beyond that the next one is the Mad Hatter Holiday Festival on the first Saturday of December, where they have a parade through downtown Vallejo driving their art cars in full holiday regalia, complete with Alice in Wonderland characters, flame throwers, and other contraptions.

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Written and photographed by Jenifer Keffer — Never miss another Bay Area event ever again. Or subscribe to our newsletter. Either work.

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