Kinetic Skulpture race this weekend

Human-powered inventions to transverse varied kourse

PORT TOWNSEND — The Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Skulpture Race is Saturday and Sunday.

A kinetic skulpture is a human-powered, artistically enhanced vehicle that must, in Port Townsend, go through sand (kwicksand), mud (The Dismal Bog), float on water and transverse hilly neighborhoods.

This year’s kinetic race and parade theme is “Rising from the Ashes.” The two-day race has a water portion on Saturday and an altered street, sand and mud “kourse” on Sunday. For a detailed map of the route, entry forms and more information, go to

On Saturday, the lineup for the parade will be at 11 a.m. at the US Bank parking lot. At noon, the parade will go down Water Street to the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.

Racers will go on to Monroe and Lawrence streets for a brake and floatation test, after which those that pass inspection will participate in the water portion of the race with a dive into Port Townsend Bay at the Salmon Club by the Northwest Maritime Center.

At 8 p.m. will be the Rosehips Kween Koronation Ball, an over-21 event at the American Legion Hall. Admission will be $10 each at the door only.

Costumed racers and others will dance to the music of Copastetic, a funk band from Seattle.

Kween Kontestants will vie for the krown at about 9:30 p.m. and the koronation will be at about 10 p.m.

On Sunday will be the street, sand and mud portion of the race.

Skulptures will line up on Water Street by the American Legion Hall at about 10 a.m. and the race will begin at “low noon.”

The race starts up Lawrence, kornering by Aldrich’s Market to race to a sand course at Fort Worden State Park, pedal hard to and through the mud at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, then back down San Juan Avenue and up through the Uptown via Walker to Lawrence Street, and then down Monroe to the finish line at the American Legion Hall.

To receive the highest points for art and pageantry, skulptures, racers and Kween Kontestants should dress in kreative kostumes of their own.

Each skulpture and pilot must pay a registration fee of $20.22 with each additional team member charged $20.22. Due to the popularity of the race and ball, race organizers have been able to keep the costs down and raise entry fees one penny each year.

Kinetic racing began more than 50 years ago as a pedal-powered race down the main street of Ferndale, Calif. Now it’s a phenomenon that has seen the rise of 17 national races and five international races.

The Port Townsend race, which marks its 38th year, is the second-oldest, and it “stays true” to the original race with its emphasis on complete silliness, kostumes, pageantry and great engineering, organizers said in a press release.

“Some skulptures are engineering marvels while most are a mixture of bicycle parts, Styrofoam, duct tape, imagination and prayers,” organizers said.

“Awards are given to each racer, whether they want them or not, but the most highly prized award is the Mediocrity Award, the skulpture that finishes in the middle of the pack. Bribes help.”

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