Ever since it was introduced to the public in a 1997 “Seinfeld” episode, Festivus has been a humorous holiday alternative for fans of the show as well as some non-fans.
And The District of Rock Island will celebrate that Friday with its first Festivus.
“This is more of a promotion than an organized event,” District executive director Catherine Rodgers-Ingles said Wednesday.
It takes place from lunchtime through closing time for bars in The District.
Taking its cue from “Seinfeld,” there will be an unadorned aluminum pole at the corner of 18th Street and 2nd Avenue, which is being sponsored by the latex division of Vandelay Industries (a fake business frequently referenced on the sitcom).
The official Festivus meal, meatloaf, will be on special at the nearby Blue Cat Brew Pub.
There’s also the “airing of grievances,” a la “Seinfeld.” But instead of complaining about ways their friends and loved ones have disappointed them through the years, written grievances will be put in containers, with a winner picked at each site.
Participating sites are the Blue Cat, Icons, Hickey Brothers, The Warehouse, M.D. Green’s, Malarkey’s, 2nd Ave., The Arena and the Daiquiri Factory.
Locations can draw a grievance at random or choose the best entry, said Carl McClaskey, the special events coordinator for The District.
Prizes will include posters of Kramer and the male bra, also known as the “manssiere” or the “bro.”
McClaskey and Rodgers-Ingles will roam the District with “Seinfeld”-related clothing. His T-shirt will read, “I am McClaskey, Lord of the Idiots,” a reference to the show’s George Costanza character. Rodgers-Ingles doesn’t want the message on hers publicized, but it’s a familiar line to anyone who’s watched the series.
Festivus was created by writer Dan O’Keefe in 1966 to celebrate the holiday season without commercialization. It became a pop-culture phenomenon after the “Seinfeld” episode, which was co-written by O’Keefe’s son, Daniel.