Hit the Curb (Cup) 

Boise Curb Cup brings it out into the streets

Last weekend, Tour de Fat brought a crazy celebration of bikes and beer to Boise. Next weekend, the circus atmosphere of the first Boise Curb Cup will be completely homegrown.

Local real estate developer Mark Rivers had been researching how alive some cities become during their short warm seasons. He discovered that communities such as London and Toronto burst with activity in the summer. Particularly in London, the summers are so short that people want to take advantage of every sunshiny moment. Rivers wanted to capture some of that urban vitality at home.

"The streets and sidewalks come alive with people. They want to be outside, they want to be in their city and they want to be urban in their lifestyle," Rivers said.

So he put the word out in Boise that the inaugural Curb Cup would take place.`

"You can launch an event and engage a community without spending a ton of money on traditional advertising because you have social media tools, but one thing we're finding about this event is that it's interactive. You get to pick your favorite people, shop a little bit and decide who's going to get your valuable vote."

It's that interactivity, and the advent of social media as an advertising tool that Rivers thinks will make the Curb Cup a truly 21st century event.

The sense of competition inherent in the Curb Cup will hopefully spur the performers to bring their A games. The winner of the inaugural Curb Cup will be chosen by viewers. Each viewer will be handed three tokens to give, as they see fit, to their favorite performer(s). The act with the most tokens takes home a check for $1,000 and the 3-foot-tall, 75-pound metal Curb Cup, created by local industrial artist/sculptor Amber Conger. Several other prizes will be awarded as well.

"Historically, performance events are passive. You sit and listen to a performer and then you clap. Here, you actually get to participate. [Performers] can promote themselves using social media, people vote, there's a lot of it that makes it pretty engaging ... it's like being in your living room outside."

The parameters for the types of performances scheduled are fairly broad. If it's legal, safe and family friendly, someone will probably be doing it. As of last week, nearly 85 performers had registered, so expect to see--and experience--a little bit of everything: musicians, dancers, magicians, fire eaters, hula hoopers, martial artists, a yo-yo champion, theater artists, improv artists, a puppeteer on a bike and even an interactive video game with a live person inside all vying for attention and tokens.

Rivers said he expects more than 100 entrants by the time the numbers are tallied, which will include comedian Pete Peterson, who hopes to unseat Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in the next election. Other comedians are slated to perform, but Peterson has one thing going for him that the others don't.

"I'm pretty sure I'll be the only gubernatorial candidate," Peterson said, laughing.

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2-4 p.m., downtown Boise on Eighth St. from Bannock to BODO. For more info, visit boisecurbcup.com.

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