Kinetic Sculpture Race amazes, again

Written by on May 7, 2014 in Featured, Photo Galleries - No comments
Maegan James of Baltimore’s Make Believers gets ready to eat pie until she finds hidden treasure. It was one of the many absurd tasks faced by competitors in this year’s Kinetic Sculpture Race, an annual event held by the American Visionary Art Museum. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

Maegan James of Baltimore’s Make Believers gets ready to eat pie until she finds hidden treasure. It was one of the many absurd tasks faced by competitors in this
year’s Kinetic Sculpture Race, an annual event held by the American Visionary Art Museum. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Bumpo Learns to Drive” is a life-size elephant named Bumpo. This year was the sculpture’s 12th in the race. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Bumpo Learns to Drive” is a life-size elephant named Bumpo. This year was the sculpture’s 12th in the race. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Tick Tock the Croc” was the winner of the Grand Mediocre award, the race’s highest honor, reserved for the team that comes in the dead middle of the pack. Only a part of the 35-foot vehicle is shown here. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Tick Tock the Croc” was the winner of the Grand Mediocre award, the race’s highest honor, reserved for the team that comes in the dead middle of the pack.
Only a part of the 35-foot vehicle is shown here. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Good Dog & the Big Itchy Flea Circus” raced for the Washington Animal Rescue League. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Good Dog & the Big Itchy Flea Circus” raced for the Washington Animal Rescue League. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

The judges of the Kinetic Sculpture Race have been known to take a bribe or two. In fact, an award is given to the team that offers the best bribe. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

The judges of the Kinetic Sculpture Race have been known to take a bribe or two. In fact, an award is given to the team that offers the best bribe. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

Does anyone in the city not recognize “Fifi the Big Pink Poodle?” - Photo by Erik Zygmont

Does anyone in the city not recognize “Fifi the Big Pink Poodle?” – Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Sweet Wynona Whale” chases her birthday cake. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

“Sweet Wynona Whale” chases her birthday cake. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

Patterson Park–and the rest of the city–saw strange visitors last week in the form of kinetic sculptures–artistic, wheeled, human-powered vehicles designed to move through streets, sand and water–last weekend.

The American Visionary Art Museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race brought “Chessie” the lake monster, an elephant named “Bumpo,” a huge Golden Retriever (or Yellow Lab) called “Good Dog,” a very lengthy crocodile, and other oddities before adoring spectators on Saturday, May 3.

The 14-mile race takes about eight hours, starting and finishing at AVAM. A large portion of the course is in southeast Baltimore, as contestants race the length of Aliceanna St. and down Boston St, concluding in a “Splashdown” at Canton Waterfront Park before they head back up Kenwood Ave. and loop through Patterson Park before leaving the Southeast via Lombard St. and making their way back to AVAM.

The race is filled with silly rules. For example, each kinetic sculpture must have its own “sock creature,” and the best one wins a prize. Prizes are also awarded for speed, engineering and other categories. The overall winner of the race is the “Grand Mediocre Champion,” the sculpture that finishes in the exact middle of the pack.

The “Golden Dinosaur” is awarded to the sculpture with the most spectacular breakdown; the sculpture with the “most interesting” water entry wins the “Golden Flipper” Award.

This year’s Grand Mediocre champion was “Tick Tock the Crock,” a train-like crocodile vehicle about to swallow a clock.

Fantastic photos and more information are available at kineticbaltimore.com.

by Erik Zygmont
editor@baltimoreguide.com

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