Monday, June 11, 2012

The Great Knaresborough Bed Race

There's a tradition in the nearby town of Knaresborough called the Great Knaresborough Bed Race. Here's how one website describes it:
Every second Saturday in June, The Great Knaresborough Bed Race brings the whole community together for one great big ridiculous (and sometimes downright dangerous) race down steep cobbled streets and across the River Nidd. It's a fantastic, quintessentially British and brings the whole town to a complete standstill.
Teams of seven decorate floats according to that year's theme and then parade them down the streets. After the parade, the decorations come off and six of the team members pull the float along a two mile racecourse while the seventh person rides inside.

This year's theme was the Olympics. Each team decorated their float using the history, culture, or icons of their country. Some floats were really elaborate!

Belgium: The parade winner

Israel : Noah's Ark







Aboriginal Papua New Guineans

My friends and I had great seats for the parade. We scaled a wall and sat on a Chinese restaurant's roof. It was awesome.

Up on the roof

Enjoying Pimms with Eric

The parade was really fun to watch. There were drummers, bagpipers, dancers and lots of men in drag.


After the parade we quickly made our way to the race site. My friend Jon found us a great spot near the end of the race, right before the teams plunge into the river. The race only takes about 15 minutes for the fastest teams, and less than 30 minutes for the slowest. Toward the end there were some significant pile-ups as teams waited for their turn in the water.

See how the floats are stripped down? They're almost unrecognizable.

In typical British fashion it rained most of the day. Luckily it was mostly dry during the race itself, but the course was a giant mud pit.

Felicity lost her shoe in the mud!

After a great day out, we made our way back to Harrogate. One of my favorite things about England is how surprising this country is. You can just be walking down a path and next thing you know you're face-to-face with gorgeous horses...

Jon just had to pet her

...or someone selling free range eggs outside their house for 90p...

You take eggs and leave money in the basket

...or a peacock in someone's front yard!

Jay saying hi

It was such a fun, unexpected day. I can't wait to do it again next year!

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