Red Tide Rising

Group Photo Red Heads

Anasha, Duncan, Kayla, Margaret, Anthony, Melissa, Corey, Laura and Neil strike a pose for the photo booth.

TROY, NY — The League of Extraordinary Red Heads gathered on Oct. 8, 2019 for its seventh annual meeting at Ryan’s Wake Public House in Troy, NY.

Always shrouded in mystery, the highly visible League does not issue official head counts or any other information about its clandestine fellowship. Unofficially, however, there were more than 200 gingers of all shades assembled for “Night of the Walking Red VII,” the largest assembly yet.

Red Haired Girl at table with red haired woman

Red hair always looks amazing with denim! Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Every year in upstate New York when the pumpkins have grown large and the tree leaves begin to blaze all shades of red, copper and orange, that is when the ginger haired people are their brightest and breeziest.

Red Haired Woman Drinking -

Quinn drink rays of sunlight with her friend Andrea. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

If you encounter them relaxing on a deck overlooking the Hudson River in the late afternoon sun, you might catch them glinting along with their amber drinks.

Four ginger women make a quorum

Three or more gingers makes a “quorum.” Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

As the evening draws on, more and more coppertops arrive and the sights become curiouser and curiouser. Are we seeing double?

Twin Brothers Red Hair - Photo by Neil Grabowsky

Twin Brothers Ginge. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Twin Sisters.  Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

And the red tide keeps rising. Gradually, these rare folks start to outnumber the commoners, “the unred.”

Photo of Deck Full of Red Heads

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

It’s happening inside, too. Is that an entire family of reds? A mother, father, two sisters and a brother, all with a tinge of ginge? Dad may not have much hair on top, but his mustache is still the color of hot sauce.

Photo of Red Haired Family.

The Knott family is quite extraordinary indeed. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Red Haired Boy wearing t-shirt

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Someone’s called in a tip to the local press. Ryan’s Wake deck looks like it’s on fire, but there’s no smoke in sight. News 10 is on the scene, asking the gingers to speak to their leader. “Leader? Bah! Gingers are fiercely independent. No one tells us what to do,” they say. “But maybe ask that guy over there with the green eyes and matching jacket.” 

Duncan Crary, the mysterious founder of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, leaves the press more bewildered than before. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

There are smiling wee red heads with their loving parents, delighted to be seeing so many other auburn and orangies who look just like them! When you’re a red head, you’re often the only one in your class, or grade, or sometimes even in your own family.

Red haired mother with baby.

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Red haired child with parents

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Many of these particular red heads seem to be brandishing a particular symbol, made from four squares of red, orange, strawberry-ginger and white.

Photo by Erin Pihlaja

Photo by Erin Pihlaja

Father daughter and nephew with temporary tattoos

Colin and Quincy have temporary tattoos of this symbol. But Anthony’s tattoo is permanent! Photo by Erin Pihlaja

Josh "Gingy"

That’s “Gingy” on the left. Photo by Erin Pihlaja.

Josh a.k.a. “Gingy” from Vixen & Viking Tattoo Studio in Glens Falls, N.Y. gave Anthony his tattoo, the first of its kind. If other gingers want to get one of those symbols (called “The Banner”), they should probably go see Gingy.


Suddenly there’s an announcement over the PA. All red heads are instructed to be on the deck in five minutes. “All Reds on Deck!”

Red heads looking off deck

Photo by Erin Pihlaja.

Red Heads on deck

Photo by Erin Pihlija

Suddenly, The Founder, Duncan Crary, scurries up the fire escape on the building next door as Neil Grabowsky abruptly rises very high into the air on a strange mechanical lift.

Photographer selfie from lift

Here’s the view from up there! Selfie by Neil Grabowsky.

As Neil gets ready to take everyone’s photograph, Duncan leads the annual meeting of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. Hanging from the balconies over the deck, is a 15 foot tall “Agenda” with only two items listed on it: 1) Us, 2) Them.

Duncan begins the meeting by asking the group to admire Anthony’s new League of Extraordinary Red Heads tattoo, the first of its kind. “That’s dedication,” he says. Moving on to “them,” Duncan asks the gingers if there are any “Game of Thrones” fans there tonight and the crowd whoops and cheers. “Red-headed characters did pretty well, didn’t they?” he says to more cheers, so he proposes a special toast to the author who created Tormund Giantsbane, Sansa Stark and Melisandre.

Gingers Toasting

Photo by Erin Pihlaja.

On the count of three, the crowd raises their glasses and cheers with “Gingers are kissed by fire!” and there’s a burst of light as Neil snaps the picture.

Group 2019 Photo By Neil Grabowsy_optimized

How many gingers are kissed by fire in this photo? Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

The sky turns orange to salute the League, but it fades, just like ginger hair fades to white eventually.

Drone photo by Neil Grabowsky.

And then there was fire! Because gingers are indeed a fiery folk.

A fire spinner performs.

Stacey spins for Dark Hollow Rd. Fire Performers. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Fire breathing girl.

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Fire breahers

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Meanwhile, word of this extraordinary league has traveled far beyond the  boundaries of this small American city and the Big City news has arrived to investigate. Ben McGrath from The New Yorker magazine has been hot on the trail of this legendary gathering.

Margaret interviewed by New Yorker

Here’s Ben interviewing Margaret Young, “The High Ginger.” Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Red Haired Woman on deck

Photo by Neil Grabowsky.


Every year, without fail, a naturally red haired denizen of the world happens upon this gingery gala purely by chance. This year, Catherine from Ireland was visiting friends in the states and, after hiking in Vermont, stopped off in Troy for dinner, on impulse. “Some ginger guy with a beard and a dog stopped me and said, ‘Are you going to the Redhead Night?’” she explained to McGrath.

Word of her arrival reaches Crary, the founder, who greets Catherine — not at all surprised to see her. As is the custom, he welcomes this year’s “Random Red” with an official “Member” card of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads and tells her “There’s no dues to pay, because you already paid them growing up.” And as is custom, Catherine joins in the gingery fun.

Random Red Cathering in photo booth

Catherine, the Random Red of 2019, with friends who just want to fit in.


Card carrying members of the LoERH.

Red heads photo booth

Anasha and Melissa

Melissa admires The Hon. Anasha‘s extraordinary hair that he has never almost cut. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Red Haired Woman - Photo by NeilGrabowsky

Kayla, looking extraordinary as ever. Photo by Neil Grabowsky.

Photo by Erin Pihlaja.

But they say the flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And almost as quickly as this fiery festival caught ablaze, the party is extinguished and the world returns back to normal, where red heads are rare in the room.

Misunderstood Whiskey

Duncan, Margaret and Anasha share some Ginger Spiced Misunderstood Whiskey.

After the crowd has retired, The Founder, The High Ginger, and The Hon. Anasha share a glass of Ginger Spiced Misunderstood Whiskey. The craft distillery provided sponsorship for the event.

Soon, Margaret will launch a New Mexico local chapter of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. If you are interested in starting a chapter, visit the Chapter Affiliation page. 

Be sure to join the League of Extraordinary email list to receive notice of its happenings. Be sure to like the LoERH on facebook and follow on Instagram.

Want some LoERH items, like hoodies, shirts, pins, naughty bathroom signs? Check out the online store.

Dig what the LoERH is doing? Want to see it keep on keepin’ on? Wish this existed when you were growing up and paying your dues? Chip in a few bucks on Patreon.


Red Heads like to rock it in front of the camera. For even more spectacular pictures of Night of the Walking Red VII, click here.



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