Kinetic Skulpture to roam over Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend boasts one of the oldest kinetic sculpture races in the world, pushing the limits of human-powered vehicles across testing terrain: mud, sand, water and hills.

This weekend, Port Townsend’s 35th annual 2017 human-powered, two-day sculpture race, “Kinetic Goes Kosmik,” takes to the water Saturday and meets land Sunday.

Race registration per vehicle and driver costs $20.17, and another $20.17 for each additional team member. To register, visit

While some kinetic sculptures are engineering marvels, most are a mixture of bicycle parts, Styrofoam, duct tape, imagination and prayers. Prizes award all vehicles: the complex, the silly, the creative — even the mediocre.

“The fun thing about kinetics is all the silliness and the kreativity. But the koolest thing is that the krowd always gets their kinetic spirit on,” race President Janet Emery wrote in a news release.

“We see kids dressed up according to theme and literally dragging their parents along to ‘oohhh and ahhhh’ over the skulptures.”

Saturday’s water race takes place from about noon to 3:30 p.m., and the sand and mud course goes from about noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Racers and contestants alike are encouraged to don “kosmik” theme-worthy space costumes.

Today kicks off the pre-race events with the Early K-Bird Hospitality Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Old Whiskey Mill, 1038 Water St. Entry to the meet-and-greet is free, but food and drink can be purchased from the restaurant.

Then, sculpture staging and a racers information meeting takes place Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, leading into the kinetic parade, which starts at the US Bank parking lot, 1239 Water St.

Emery describes the parade as a “wanna-be” lineup with a home-grown and family atmosphere. No political, religious or advertising messages can be displayed.

After the parade, racers will participate in a brake and flotation test.

“The hilarity begins with skulptures careening down Monroe Street for a brake stop at the skateboard park,” Emery said.

Then, the water racers are off.

Racers will show off their flotation and propulsion through the water with a dive into the bay at the Salmon Club by the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. Spectators will likely witness both successful floats and sinking sculptures.

Saturday night brings the 21-and-older crowd the Rosehips Kween Koronation Ball, the chief fundraiser for the event.

Starting at 8 p.m., racers and spectators dressed in costume can catch Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St. Around 9:30 p.m., the “kween kontestants” will vie for the Rosehips Krown, and a winner will be “koronated” around 11 p.m.

Tickets cost $15 at the door, with no advance tickets available.

Then, Sunday’s sand and mud race starts at Lawrence Street at the corner of Aldrich’s Market around noon, traverses sand at Fort Worden State Park, pedals through mud at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and then travels back down San Juan Avenue and up to Safeway for a break.

The race starts back up again through the boatyard and down Water Street to the finish line at the American Legion Hall.

A map of the races can be found at

Finishers are invited to a survivors’ post party and award ceremony from about 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

To enter a sculpture, become a candidate for Rosehips Ball or volunteer, contact Emery at 360-301-0376.


Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at ssharp@peninsula

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