To the uninitiated, the sight of dozens of amphibious vehicles—cobbled together from materials like tulle, PVC piping, and milk jugs—racing through a city for 15 miles might seem strange. But we Baltimoreans know it’s the American Visionary Art Museum’s Kinetic Sculpture Race, which celebrates 16 years on May 3.
“Each year, I pass on the history of the best moments, so that no one forgets the real spirit of the race,” says AVAM’s director of design and education Theresa Segreti.
Whether it’s the trademark pink poodle Fifi or the cleverly named Bling Dynasty, pictured, vehicles are admired for their creativity, not necessarily their speed—hence awards like “first to break down” or “worst honorable mention.”
Segreti adds that spectators should watch the real stars of the show, the cyclists alongside the vehicles. “The reality is that pedaling, steering, and braking a 1,500-pound vehicle is iffy at best,” she says. “The unsung heroes are the pit-crew who do all the dirty work.”