On Sunday, I learned that if you put a 270-pound man in a white shirt, under blacklight, you get a whole lotta’ glow. I learned this important lesson in phosphorescence the minute I stepped into Redding’s newest entertainment attraction: the Need 2 Speed Blacklight Miniature Golf Course, a project that has been under a shroud for months.
My daughter Corina andher friend Julia were the first two golfers to experience the motor sports-themed attraction created by Julie DePrada and her partner Boris Podtetenieff, owners of Need 2 Speed, the popular high-speed, indoor kart racing facility in downtown Redding.
Sunday’s friends-and-family preview gave Julie and Boris an opportunity to work out some of the glitches, see what works and what doesn’t, and get feedback before officially opening to the public this month. Due to the amount of visual stimuli, searching for glitches is an impossible task for a visitor to the course. The only phrase I could muster for a written questionnaire, after I emerged from their neon wonderland, was “Wow.”
The entire 5,000-square-foot attraction is a mind-blowing, intense, fast-action playground that transports players from the race track to the moon and back again through 18 themed miniature-golf holes.
Each high-speed theme morphs into the next before passing an animated, high speed tortoise and hare, the Need 2 Speed Downs, and an Indy 500 finish. In between, skiers fly into the air, chasing planes in the trail of spacecraft that take players to an otherworldly universe and back to Earth again. The adrenaline eye-candy will soon be augmented by music and motion-sensored sound effects.
Even Julie and Boris are at odds about their favorite theme, and it’s easy to see why. Instead of a pre-fabricated design that could have been installed in six weeks, Julie and Boris opted for local craftspeople for the electrical work, carpeting and cement, and one-of-a-kind engineering and design, made possible by Boris’ brother Eric and fellow artist and illustrator, Glenn Harding. Julie admits that without Eric and Glenn, “We never would have had these results,” an admission she makes even after the artist team painted for a month, hated the results, painted over it and began anew.
Eric and Glenn, former partners in Redding’s design firm “Look Images,” last worked together 18 years ago and reunited for this project. Glenn mapped the walls to scale, created concept drawings and applied line drawings that Eric meticulously painted with layers of blacklight paint ($160 a gallon). Together they created a fantasy world of NASCAR, monster trucks, drag racing, space travel, horse racing and regatta, complete with three-dimensional vehicles, aircraft, waves and dolphins.
It is impossible to believe that Eric, who segued into construction after leaving the graphic design business, hasn’t painted in 12 years. In addition to painting each scene, Eric also hand-sculpted and formed all of the three-dimensional elements, including waves, sea creatures and craters.
Julie and Boris have done what they do best, and given the North State another fun, high-energy entertainment venue. The blacklightgolf course is a family affair all the way around. Eric confessed that the best part of the whole adventure was “redeveloping a relationship with my brother.” Rumor has it that Julie and Boris will soon begin work on a third element of the Need 2 Speed entertainment complex. But for now, enjoy reconnecting with your family and friends for blacklight miniature golf. Don’t forget your white shirt.
The Need 2 Speed blacklight miniature golf course opens Sunday, March 28. For more information about Need 2 Speed, blacklight miniature golf, parties, hours and prices, visit n2skarts.com.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studiosand are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State news and events to firstname.lastname@example.org.