Berlin To Welcome Back Bathtub Races Friday

Berlin To Welcome Back Bathtub Races Friday
Competitors Trevor Frederick and Delaney Manning are pictured competing in a previous installment of the bathtub races. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Local businesses will once again show off their speed and ingenuity with the Berlin Bathtub Race.

The Berlin Chamber of Commerce will host the 31st annual Berlin Bathtub Race Friday, July 9. Tubs, fitted with wheels and pushed and piloted by representatives of local businesses, will careen down Main Street as spectators line the sidewalks.

“It’s fun,” said Mike Queen, president of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. “It brings the community together and provides a boost for the economy of the town.”

Though the race is typically held in June, as a precautionary measure the chamber moved this year’s event to July, coinciding with the town’s 2nd Friday festivities.

“We wanted to take one more COVID precaution and move this year’s original event date back to give more people a chance to get vaccinated,” said Steve Frene, deputy director of the chamber. “Unlike our other events where visitors can spread out, the Bathtub Race has a very compressed viewing area and there really wasn’t a way to keep everyone socially distanced while keeping the course within the picturesque downtown Berlin setting.”

According to Frene, those new to the event can expect to see a variety of unique contraptions — designed to hold at least two gallons of water, a driver who can steer and brake, and be pushed by another person on a short stretch of Berlin Main Street — speeding down the road. Several heats of double elimination competition narrow the field of about a dozen entries down to one legendary winner who earns the right to have their name on the coveted trophy that they must return to Berlin after one year for the next year’s event.

Friday’s event begins with a 6 p.m. parade of bathtubs from the Berlin Welcome Center to Commerce Street. Heats will begin at 6:15 p.m. and will go from Commerce Street to Jefferson Street. The event will be MC’d by Ocean 98 DJs Big Al Reno and Schwab.

Additionally, because the race is being held in conjunction with the Town’s 2nd Friday event, visitors will have even more to do as shops, museums and restaurants will be open with live music, artisans and locally made items.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.