WEEKEND: Kinetic madness erupts in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — The annual summer festivals require substantial planning, scheduling and financial support, but this weekend’s Kinetic ­SkulPTure Race — with a capital PT for you-know-where — just kind of happ­ens.

As of Thursday, 17 “human-powered artistically enhanced” vehicles had registered for this weekend’s race, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how many will show up, according to race “organizer” Janet Emery.

This is a simple requirement that some participants attempt to make as complicated as possible.

The vehicles range from a single person pedaling a modified tricycle through the race to large machines with two-story wheels and a crew of one dozen.

Prizes are awarded, but not using any conventional yardstick: The most coveted award is for mediocrity, to the contestant who finishes in the middle — this year, ninth — in the race.

Participants must build their machines from scratch, and the vehicles must be people-powered.

The vehicles must be built for all terrains and be amphibious — mud and water are part of the course.

The vehicles are driven by teams — as small as one person or as many as it requires to move the contraption through the mud.

Each participant must pay a registration fee of $20.11 (which Emery said will go up a penny next year), with each additional team member charged $10.11.

All participants get a free T-shirt and a ticket to the adult-oriented Kostume Ball.

Emery said the event costs about $5,000 to put on and is — both legally and otherwise — a nonprofit, as the money generated by the Koronation Kostume Ball and entry fees covers expenses for the next year.

The event usually makes enough to pay for the foll­owing year’s race, though the 2010 race showed a profit allowing a $1,000 contribution to the Port Townsend Food Bank.

The weekend kicks off with an “Early K-Bird” Hospitality Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Undertown, 211 Taylor St.

The festivities take two days, from noon Saturday to “5:30-ish” Sunday, with the biggest spectator treat a parade that begins at noon in the US Bank parking lot near the ferry terminal.

The parade heads down Water Street to the float test near the Northwest Maritime Center.

Contestants assemble at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.

The race itself starts at “low noon” Sunday in front of Port Townsend City Hall at the corner of Madison and Water streets and ends at about 5 p.m. in the same location.

In between, the racers travel to the Point Wilson Lighthouse, back through Fort Worden State Park to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, down San Juan Avenue and Kearny Street, and down Water Street to Union Wharf, where they enter the water for the final stretch.

For a detailed map of the route, visit http://tinyurl.com/pdnkinetic.

In between the parade and the race, the Koronation Kostume Ball takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Legion Hall.

The highlight of Saturday’s ball is the crowning of the Rose Hips Queen, who will “rain” until next year’s parade.

Like everything else, the rules are delightfully loose.

To quote the rules, entrants must be human or a reasonable facsimile — a DNA sample may be required.

During the ball, each contestant must tell a joke, share a recipe and demonstrate a talent or skill.

Judges select three finalists while the crowd’s cheers select the winner.

Emery said she had no idea how many contestants would go for the crown because they usually show up at the last minute.


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

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