happy 4th (and outhouse races)

the annual Bristol outhouse races: go, go, GO!!!

The annual Bristol outhouse races: go, go, GO!!!

Catching up on a few non-Montreal Jazz Fest things today. And that reminds me: what do you MEAN, fireworks, picnics and watermelon?

creator of the Cubber's Pizza outhouse, naming all of the morning regulars whose faces decorate the craft

Creator of the Cubber's Pizza outhouse, naming all of the morning regulars whose faces decorate the craft

In Bristol, Independence Day tradition means just one thing: the annual fury of the outhouse races, followed by an hour and a half long parade. But let’s get back to that first part for a moment: around an hour before the parade kicks off, Main Street is filled with homemade crafts of every decoration scheme (the tackier and more political, the better), often sponsored by local businesses.

Regardless of the externals, the basic construction doesn’t vary much. You need a rectangular upright open frame, made of something sturdy enough to withstand the inevitable sideswipes and crashes with all of the other careening toilettes-on-wheels. A theme is helpful but not necessary. You need a “sittee”, someone willing to sit on the can inside the outhouse, who’s not put off by a rough ride or an overturn or two along the way. And finally you need a few strong, fast folks to push the craft at top speed, more or less in a straight line, down the street. After those bare essentials it’s anybody’s game.

Tickets are sold, bets are made, and then it’s every can for him/herself.

the finish line - CAUTION.

The finish line - CAUTION.

I’d heard about it. Can’t live this close to Bristol without picking up on a few of the local legends. Lincoln Falls (which lives up to every bit of its legendary swimming hole status – oops, now I’ve spilled it!); Cubber’s Pizza (the best); the classy gourmet Bobcat Cafe; dearly departed Deer Run bookstore (I still miss it!); and the 4th of July outhouse races. There’s a lot more to know and discover about Bristol, but those few things are a pretty good jumping off point.

Several heats, a high-speed wreck into the sidelines (that would be the Eagle, 104.9FM’s wayward outhouse – no injuries thank goodness) and a rainshower later, the winner was announced: it was very close, rolling into the finish line – but Snaps restaurant (home of the succulent Snappy cinnamon bun) had pulled into the lead by…a head.

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