Red is the color of love, life, passion, anger, danger, luck and heat. It's also the hair color of historically significant figures. Redheads or "gingers" (both natural and elective) have played significant roles in everything from the humanities to the hard sciences: Boudica, Lucille Ball, Vincent Van Gogh, Elizabeth I, Christina Hendricks, Anne Boleyn, J.K. Rowling, Seth Green, Ron Howard, William the Conqueror, Carrot Top, Felicia Day, Conan O'Brien, Danny Elfman, William Blake, Ken Kesey, Tina Louise (Ginger, of Gilligan's Island), Ann Margaret, Rita Hayworth, Henry II, Sarah Bernhardt and Shaun White, to name a few.
But if you live in Britain or are a fan of South Park, you know redheads are an oft-maligned group. Not so much in Boise, where we will celebrate redheads and all things red in the inaugural Gingerfest at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. It promises to be a ruddy good time with contests for Best Male Ginger, Best Female Ginger, Best Kid Ginger and even Best Ginger Pet. Redhead wannabes can slap on a red wig, red beard, red mustache and some red stripes and get their mugshot taken.
And everything will be rosy for the kids, who can play games like Big Red Races, 99 Red Balloons Targets and the Cherry Pit Spit. Grown-ups can join the junior gingers at a craft station to make red-bead necklaces or have some adult fun with red ale from Crooked Fence Brewing and red wine from Indian Creek Winery. Of course, there will be plenty of ginger ale.
Old Pen volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and point the way to a special exhibit about inmates incarcerated during the "Red Scare."