The Gardiner Public Library is hosting a workshop Saturday on the upcoming Whatever Land Race, a reinvention of an annual event from the 1970s to early 1990s that involved traveling down the Kennebec River from Augusta to Gardiner on whatever would float.

The original Whatever Race, started in the 1970s to celebrate the cleanup of the river, was shut down for a number of reasons, including the amount of alcohol involved.

This year’s land-locked version, scheduled for the Greater Gardiner River Festival on June 20, will be a parade of costumed, human-powered structures, according to a release from Gardiner Main Street, which developed the event with SpinOff Studio.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Kinetic Sculpture Race, Push Cart Kinetic Dash and “We’re a Sculpture” Dash. A kinetic sculpture must be powered by only its pilot and pit crew, the push cart dash is a work of moving art that is pushed or rolled, but not ridden upon, and the sculpture event will be entrants wearing art, the release said.

Greater Gardiner River Festival, which will also include an arts and crafts fair, live music, a talent show, kayak demonstrations, boat rides and fireworks, is the city’s portion of the Great Kennebec River Whatever Family Festival.

The workshop hosted by the library is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday and will include a presentation about the history of the Whatever Race and other historic events in Gardiner.

After the presentation, “experienced kinetic sculpture artists” will help those interested in participating in the race develop their designs.


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