PORT TOWNSEND — The annual Kinetic Skulpture Race brings in teams from Oregon, California and Washington, with some of them representing Port Townsend as they ride their strange contraptions through the street, mud and water.
“We get teams from all over,” said Janet Emery, race president. “I know we have teams from California and Oregon. I haven’t heard from the Canadians but they usually just show up.”
Sixteen teams have signed up for the 35th annual Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Skulpture Race which kicks off Saturday with the theme, “Kinetics Goes Kosmic.”
Preparing for this weekend’s festivities is reigning Kinetic Kween and first-time racer Lisa Doray.
Doray isn’t new to Kinetic weekend. She’s participated in the past as a kinetic kop, a race judge, pit crew for other teams and last year she was crowned Kinetic Kween.
“Being a racer is my absolute favorite thing I’ve done,” Doray said. “Being Kween wasn’t bad either.”
Doray is part of team IPA, named in honor of the Port Townsend Brewery which sponsors some of the race events. IPA’s skulpture this year is “Plan A.”
“We finished up the skulpture in May,” Doray said.
“Plan A” got its first test run on the Kinetic Skulpture circuit in July at a race in Corvallis, Ore., but the team had been working on it since last year’s race.
“We take a few months off but really it’s a year-round endeavor,” Doray said.
Doray, who runs a landscaping company and teaches art classes in Port Townsend, said it was the artistic aspect of the race and the people involved that keep her coming back each year.
“My personal interest is art so I love community art projects,” Doray said. “The people here are also so much fun. They’re just great and welcoming.”
Also participating this year is team Dueling Dragons with its skulpture “Moon Buggy.” Easily one of the youngest teams, Dueling Dragons is made up of students participating in the local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.
The team has participated in the race for past five years in Port Townsend.
“Our whole idea is that we create opportunities for kids to compete in the sport of the mind,” said Gabriel Ashford, whose daughter, Ella, is on the team. “We’re growing the next generation of kids in kinetics.”
Ashford said the race is a perfect fit for a STEM program because designing, building and decorating the skulpture means the students have to bring together math, science and technology with the arts.
“You can apply things from kinetics to robotics,” Ashford said, “and all of this, the competition, teaches kids grit. You can’t always get that in school.”
Each skulpture and racer pays a registration fee of $20.17.
The race starts Saturday with the annual “wanna-be” parade that begins at the US Bank parking lot at 1239 Water St., at “low noon” and travels down Water Street to the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe St.
After a brake test on Monroe Street and a flotation test, racers will do the water “kourse” portion of the race from the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.
Saturday night is a celebration with the Kween Koronation Kostume Ball beginning at 8 p.m. where the new Kinetic Kween will be crowned. Admission to the ball at the American Legion Hall is $15 at the door.
The vehicles, racers and Kween Kontestants are asked to dress in “spacey kostumes” with the kosmic theme in mind.
Sunday is the official race day, which will start with staging at 10:30 a.m. on Water Street next to the American Legion Hall.
The road, sand and mud “kource” will be from low noon to about 5 p.m. as racers will then head up the hill to uptown, down to Fort Worden State Park and the Jefferson County Fairgrounds where they’ll slog through sand and mud.
There will be a small break for racers in the Safeway parking lot then racers will be back to the American Legion Hall to cross the finish line.
The survivors’ post party and award ceremony will be at about 6 p.m.
For more information, see https://www.ptkineticrace.org/.