“Good afternoon Highlandtown! Are we ready for Art Carts?!”
The microphone squeaked heavily as Delegate Luke Clippinger, judge of the gravity-powered cart race in Highlandtown, worked up the crowd. Small children clapped their hands over their ears.
“Are we ready for feedback?” Clippinger added.
Last Saturday was the second annual All Ages Art Cart Derby. Starting at Conkling St., racers rode their carts two blocks down the Gough St. hill.
“We are getting ready to start the first runs down the sheer terror that is Gough Street,” said Clippinger.
There was a “dreadnought” (armored battle tank thing), Mr. Boh in a race car, a “sharkzilla”, a goat surrounded by maidens in viking helmets, and more. Overall, there were 12 carts—all home-made, all gravity-powered, and all with steering and braking systems.
The point of the whole event, put on by Communities For All Ages and sponsored by the Laughing Pint, was to get people of different generations working together and having fun. Communities For All Ages is a 30-person group with members from the Creative Alliance, the Southeast Community Development Corp., and Banner Neighborhoods. Members range in age from 14 to 54, according to Leanna Wetmore, an organizer of the event.
It wasn’t just a race. As Highlandtown residents sipped beer from the Laughing Pint, they checked out a variety of art exhibits and refreshment tents between race heats.
“I’m glad to see a lot of people here,” said Highlandtown resident Matthew Saindon, a photographer. “We got a good crowd last year; I think we’ll get a bigger crowd this year.”
Saindon’s family raced “The Fireball of Doom.” Unfortunately, the cart had a little steering trouble in the first heat. That didn’t stop anyone from having a good time, and carts that had difficulty completing the course received helpful pushes from bystanders.
The winner of race, speedwise, was “Team Appendix and the Miracle Welders.” The cart with the widest range of ages in its building team was
“Banner’s Smooth Sailing,” by Banner Neighborhoods. The best concept was awarded to “The Highlandtown Train Garden,” and “Dreadnought 561” won the people’s choice award.
The afternoon also included Super Art Fight, the self-proclaimed “Greatest Live Art Competition in the Known Universe.” Artists took direction from the spin of a roulette wheel.
There was also a teen talent show, with performances and poetry.
“The thing we kept getting from folks was how much they enjoyed the teenagers’ performance,” said Wetmore. “They were surprised at how powerful it was.”
by Erik Zygmont