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The annual mooning of the Amtrak
The cheeky 40 year tradition of the Laguna Niguel mooning
Of all the nude holidays and events taking place during Nude Recreation Week, the award for "most irreverent" undoubtedly goes to the annual Mooning of the Amtrak in Laguna Niguel, California. Of course, the perennial mooning is not officially tied to Nude Recreation Week, but the cheeky spirit of the yearly occasion aligns remarkably well with the week's celebration of body positivity and liberation.
Indeed, the Mooning of the Amtrak is far from your average nude event. Every year on the second Saturday of July, crowds of bold souls line up along the fence outside of Mugs Away Saloon, dropping their pants as the Amtrak trains pass by. While the event might initially sound ludicrous, it's the atmosphere of camaraderie, harmless fun, and yes, irreverence, that makes it truly special.
The tradition's roots run back to 1979. Legend has it that an inebriated patron at Mugs Away Saloon, situated directly across from the railway, offered a free drink to anyone daring enough to bare their bottom at the next passing train. Lo and behold, some courageous individuals accepted the challenge, and thus, a tradition was born.
With each passing year, more people embraced the unconventional celebration, transforming it into a must-see local event. Traditionally, the spectacle has kicked off with the arrival of the first Amtrak train around 7:30 in the morning and continued until the last train before midnight. This eccentric affair, framed by the sunny California backdrop, stands as a testament to the power of community and the enduring appeal of harmless, communal fun.
Over time, the event has evolved into a mini festival, complete with food, drinks, and live music. And although the tradition was born out of a simple, spontaneous bet, it's grown to embody a sense of togetherness and shared irreverence, qualities that attendees celebrate as much as the mooning itself. At its peak, the Mooning of the Amtrak reportedly drew a crowd of around 10,000 participants.1 This happened in 2008, and the event got somewhat out of hand, requiring police intervention. Since then, new ordinances and a heavier police presence were introduced, causing attendance to drop.
Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the Mooning of the Amtrak is its sheer irreverence. In a world that often takes itself too seriously, this event serves as a collective wink, a shared joke among thousands. In their shared cheekiness, participants stand—or rather, drop trousers—in defiance of conventions, choosing instead to embrace a moment of wild, unabashed fun. The sight of thousands of bare bottoms lining the fence is both a spectacle and a statement: a declaration of free-spiritedness and an ode to irreverence. It's a tradition that proudly thumbs its nose at the ordinary, celebrating the unique, the humorous, and the unabashedly irreverent. 🪐
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These numbers are based on reported figures that I have not independently verified.