LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. — Once again, the pants came down in Laguna Niguel, but so did participation in the city's quirky annual Moon Amtrak event.
The tradition, in place since 1979, involves crowds lowering their pants to “moon” passing and trains.
More than 70 showed up Saturday across the road from to display their derrieres. The turnout was significantly lower than .
Many came with friends and family, some spanning multiple generations. Folks from all walks of life came to drop their drawers, including Carol Wickenheisser and Susan Branch. Frequent participants in the past, the pair said they wanted to make a repeat appearance after missing last year’s. This year was Wickenheisser’s fifth time. Her daughter, Susan, came from New Mexico via train. Another participant was Danielle Heiser, a Boston native who stopped by during her visit with family.
Several changes were implemented this year, including a no-parking zone along Camino Capistrano. Cones were set up to stop drivers from parking in the street, while police patrolled the vicinity. Additionally, the business park's new owner installed new concrete and planted trees in the Crown Valley Business Park, prompting Mugs Away Saloon owner Karen Kalber to believe the event will be even better in the future.
The mooning madness started more than three decades ago with a dare, Kalber said. One customer promised to buy his buddies a drink if they dropped their drawers to the next train.
Fast forward a few years, and the tradition became a hit. Several veterans claimed there were some years when attendance topped 10,000. But they said the numbers have dwindled over the last few years, partly because problems with overnight parking and drinking prompted a .
On Saturday, Amtrak and Metrolink trains passed throughout the day. In years past, passengers on the train have been known to moon back at the trackside mooners.
Click here for an additional video of the event, July 14, 2012.