Rhody Bed Races rounding the corner for triumphant return | Rhody Fest

Posted 5/19/22

A longstanding Rhododendron Festival favorite among participants, organizers, and spectators will return this year: the Bed Races.

The Rhody rendition of the Bed Races involves teams of five, with …

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Rhody Bed Races rounding the corner for triumphant return | Rhody Fest

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A longstanding Rhododendron Festival favorite among participants, organizers, and spectators will return this year: the Bed Races.

The Rhody rendition of the Bed Races involves teams of five, with one person riding the four-wheeled, cart-like vehicle while four teammates push the “bed” forward.

This year’s races begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 20 with participants starting on Water Street in downtown Port Townsend, then passing through Monroe Street and Madison Street toward the finish line.

Registration for the race is at 5:30 and judging starts at 6 p.m. May 20.

Beyond competing to be the fastest to finish, Bed Race participants can also win classic awards like the “Most Spirit” accolade or the “Best Bribe” award.

“It’s a lot of fun; people show up and root on their teams. Each team puts together a fun bed and decorates them,” said Janet Emory, one of the lead organizers of the Rhody Bed Races.

“It’s awesome. We’re thrilled to be able to be a part of everything that happening with [the Rhody Festival] this year,” Emory added.

The event is especially exciting considering that festival-goers haven’t seen the Bed Races since the last one back in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 festival and minimized the 2021 festivities to an all-encompassing parade.

Now that Rhody festivities are back to full speed, many locals are eagerly awaiting their chance to get back on the track.

The longtime powerhouse crew of firefighters from East Jefferson Fire Rescue are likely to return to the race as the perennial favorites for the competition, while other groups like the Uptown Pub squad and others could return for an enticing matchup.

“I love them all; the fire department (East Jefferson Fire Rescue) is one of my favorites, they’re always in it to win it and fun to watch every time,” Emory said of this year’s potential competitors. “You just never know what’s going to happen … It’s a fun event and I really hope that people want to come back out.”

As the Bed Races rapidly approach, they’ll surely be one to watch among the plethora of enticing Rhody Week events to chose from.

“It’s awesome to see all the amazing people that turn out and it’s nice seeing the families that come out,” Emory said. “It’s about community and family and having a good time, and the excitement of it all.”

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