Ready to roll
Expect any tranquility on Park Row to be shattered this weekend as teams of fierce competitors roar down the road. While still in bed.
Brunswick Downtown Association’s fourth annual Rolling Slumber Bed Races take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The bed races are free for onlookers.
“It’s a fun, family event,” said Marketing and Communications Coordinator Patti Spencer-Yost. “There’s a fun community spirit.”
The day’s events start with a bed parade, followed by the race.
Each bed racing team consists of five adults — four runners and one rider in the bed itself.
All beds must be decorated, according to Rolling Slumber rules, and costumes are encouraged.
Teams race two at a time down 150 feet of Park Row before reversing direction to the finish line.
Wendy Herrick of Wendy Herrick Floral Designs beat out former reigning champion and her Maine Street neighbor Cool As A Moose last year.
Although she said her bed had a flat, her team still managed to complete the course in 22 seconds, she said.
“We won because I put my guys in tuxes, and they think they’re James Bond,” said Herrick, who also operates as a retailer for Jim’s Formal Wear.
Herrick’s team sounds like a rogue’s gallery of warrior poets. The are:
— Jaed Coffin, barroom boxer author of the memoir “A Chant To Soothe Wild Elephants.”
— Mark Gartside, a British-born novelist and rugby coach.
— Vineet A. Shende, chairperson of the Bowdoin College music department.
— Jeff Audet, cabinet maker who designed the bed. Audet’s son, Ryan, is at the ready to substitute for a pusher if needed.
A bed may not seem like it’s traveling fast to a bystander. Not so to the rider.
“I’m going to have a camera this year, so you’ll see how fast it is from my point of view,” Herrick said, who will once again ride in the bed this year.
Herrick said she was happily surprised by the amount of interest last year’s races generated.
“There were hundreds of people, news reporters, TV,” Herrick said of last year’s event. “It’s a lot of fun, and pretty competitive.”
Eight teams are participating this year, including Cool As A Moose.
For Herrick, the event also allowed her to network with other businesses.
The event started in 2011 as a way to get people to shop downtown retailers, according to BDA Membership & Events Coordinator Melissa Grillo. The bed races coincide with the BDA’s early bird sale, which starts at 6 a.m., and is an incentive for early shoppers to hang around the downtown through the early afternoon. About 20 businesses will be participating.
“The energy is just really exciting,” said Grillo. “The crowds have grown every year, the race grows every year.”
Grillo’s advice to competitors: Run fast and wear good shoes.