There are many reasons that Berlin was named America’s Coolest Small Town in 2014, but high up on the list (in our opinion anyway) is the noteworthy and truly unique events that the town holds each year. It’s tough to pick a favorite, but the Bathtub Races definitely take the cake for most unique. Picture this: local businesses battling it out on Main Street in their self-built tubs-on-wheels as the crowds cheer on enthusiastically from the sidelines. It’s small town fun at its finest, capped off with a little friendly competition between some of our favorite local businesses.
For those of you scratching your heads and thinking, ‘what the heck is a bathtub race?’ here’s a few of the finer points. Teams provide and decorate their own tubs. Bathtubs must hold a minimum of 2 gallons of water along with at least one rider (helmets required!) and only one person pushing. Wheels are limited to 26 inches; however there is no limit to the number of wheels. Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – each bathtub must be equipped with brakes and steering. New to the lineup this year is the option for the rider and driver to alternate, which should throw a proverbial monkey wrench into the situation as in the past teams have relied on having someone small riding in the tub. With the option to switch, some teams may choose to monopolize on the chance for fresh legs, but in doing so, wouldn’t fare too well with a tiny rider operating as a driver/runner. We’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out…
Since 1991, local businesses around the Berlin and Ocean City area have been competing in the event, spending weeks transforming tubs, bins, carts – basically anything that will hold water – into art masterpieces in hopes of winning the race, year-long bragging rights, and the coveted trophy. The best part? Businesses can have fun participating in the race while also advertising on the side of their tubs. In addition to the ‘Winner Takes All’ rubber ducky trophy, the first place team also takes home a free banner ad on the Chamber’s website (a $400 value).
The fun starts at 6pm, but head out earlier to nab your spot and watch as the tubs parade into town. In the meantime, enjoy a collection of our favorite race photos from years past: