Still, I find myself struggling for words to describe the Great Handcar Regatta. It's been over a week, and I carry on basking in the glow. Sweltering heat, yes ~ 102 degrees. Intense crowds, yes ~ possibly more than 9,000 people. But all in all, an incredible, joyful, luminous day.
Hats off to the organizing team, who I am so proud and grateful to have in my community. The Regatta is a most astonishing confluence of determination and talents and passion, and it came to life with a roar once again, in the very back-yard of my own sleepy suburban town.
The heart of the event is surely the races on the railroad tracks, where no less than twenty-three teams of industrious racers entered, with amazing person-powered vehicles of every stripe. The Screaming Vortex, pictured above, the Rail Skins by Nordic Track, a bobsled which slid along the tracks on blocks of ice, and Todd Barricklow's giant Two-Penny were crowd favorites.
To bring a little absurdity to the races, my beloveds Krank-Boom-Clank built a vehicle out of pink children's bikes for the delightful clowns of Fou Fou Ha to ride...
A wonderful variety of people in costume were seen traipsing about, and many a beautifully-attired patron thanked me for my costume guide from the Regatta Web site. I was so pleased it had proven useful.
The art installations were incredible, especially Bryan Tedrick's Portal of Evolution and the always-delightful work of Tony Speirs. The various and sundry curiosities in the Wunder Closet were fantastic, from antlered babies to disturbing machinery to hybrid musical instruments ~ complete with sideshow freaks hanging about outside...
And Baby Seal Club put on a medicine show of our own on the Snake Oil Stage, where I tried to keep from fainting in the heat whilst peddling our much-lauded Baby Seal Club's Miracle Elixir and Tits-Up Tonic, which very nearly sold out.
We were thrilled to hear that our most-beloved publication Coilhouse was sending photographer-about-town Mr. Nightshade to take photos of the event, and his images are gorgeous, as ever.
Some of my favorite artists, builders, crafters, and performers were on hand. The Golden Mean Snail Car pulled up next to the Front Porch where the Hobo Gobbelins were playing... Cyclecide set up their bike rodeo, the Neverwas Haul crew showed up, and the Department of Spontaneous Combustion brought contraptions... there was a steampunk stilter, and a tiny marionette robot...
Like a miniature Maker Faire with a steampunk edge, it was a celebration of ingenuity, beauty, and the simplest of technologies. All in all, a rip-roaring success for all involved. My deepest love and gratitude to everyone who made it so fantastic!
See more Regatta photos on Flickr. Watch Regatta videos on YouTube.