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Cirque du So Gay Gets Crafty This Saturday

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This Saturday, the sixth annual Cirque du SoGay rolls around. This time, it's sporting an arts-and-crafts theme.

The scavenger hunt via bicycle event is always silly and sexy, while still retaining a touch of activism through introducing participants to queer-based resources and businesses. As usual, there are two different route options. If you want to sweat less, the "Virgin" is the gentler option. It includes 10 to 12 stops, and runs around 13 miles. The "Harder! Faster!" course includes two additional stops and spans 25 miles. Checkpoints will get your creative juices flowing with artsy tasks that include button making and creating sexy gear.

"Expect to make some treasures and learn some new artistic skills," says Cirque du SoGay ringleader EG Nelson.

[jump] The Twin Cities is rich in queer artists. "Traditionally, as the 'weirdos' of society, the arts have been a way for [queer] people to express themselves," says Nelson. After all, living on the margins and building a community is not so dissimilar to the drive to create DIY arts and crafts.

One showcased artist is Kelly Brazil, a regular contributor to Cirque, who made this year's trophy. "There's something kind of dirty about Kelly's art, which I really like," says Nelson. Brazil's choice of materials -- which often includes bike parts, scraps of re-purposed metal, and dildos -- contributes to the ride's bawdy vibe.

In addition to crafts, there will also be prizes. Some of the businesses providing winnings include Tiny Diner, Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Cafe SouthSide, and Surly bikes. Queer crafty folks are also making things and donating items, and Sunrise Cyclery is providing keychains made up with bike parts such as break levers and tubes. "You know that Portlandia skit 'put a bird on it?' I feel like here it's like, 'put a bike on it.' You put a bike on it, and people are going to want it," says Nelson.

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On Saturday, there will be no finer opportunity to get artsy with your bike as well. The splashier your cycle and outfit are, the better. "I'm a fan of anything with lots of colors and sparkles. My sister is really into mopeds. She makes these custom seat covers, and I really want her to make me a gold lame bike-seat cover -- you know, goals," says Nelson.

IF YOU GO:

Cirque du SoGay VI

3 p.m. Saturday, October 4

Freewheel Midtown Bike Center

$5 suggested donation

More info at queerbikes.org/cdsg