(June 20, 2019) Deeley Insurance Group representatives Trevor Frederick and Delaney Manning crossed the finish line as the victors of the 30th annual Berlin Bathtub Races last Friday.
“That was awesome,” Manning said.
Manning was the driver and Frederick was the pusher of the racing tub that knocked off two-time Berlin Bathtub Races champions H.T. Harrison and Sons Inc.
“It’s a good victory,” Frederick said. We came pretty close last year … and the Harrison’s [were] coming off a two-year, back-to-back win. You always know that they’re the competitors.”
Larnet St. Amant, executive director of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, previously said registration for the race was capped at 15 bathtubs – 15 drivers and 15 pushers. However, only 10 bathtubs were counted during last Friday’s event.
Participating in the bathtub races this year were Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Burley Oak Brewing Company, Costa Ventosa Vineyard and Winery, H.T. Harrison and Sons Inc., Ocean Pines Pickleball, Seaside Plumbing Inc., The Globe, and Worcester County Recreation and Parks.
Each organization approached their designs differently with bathtubs large and small.
“I love how they’re all different and they’re all everybody’s interpretation,” St. Amant said.
Seaside Plumbing Inc. kept to the company’s overall theme with a bathtub, toilet and shower. They also displayed different branches of the military to honor the nation’s armed forces.
Owner Josh Martin said a lot of “tender loving care” went into making the bathtub.
Others, like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, attached large sails to the bathtub.
Despite the lower number of entrants, St. Amant said she was pleased with the race’s success.
St. Amant said the chamber also worked with Berlin’s Arts and Entertainment Committee for the first time and held the race during the Second Friday Art Stroll.
“It was a very nice night,” she said.
St. Amant called the Berlin Bathtub Races “a draw” and noted many spectators would arrive hours before the event to find a prime spot on the hay bales bordering the course.
Additionally, children and adults participated in hula-hoop contests inside the track during several race intermissions, St. Amant said.
“It makes the community feel like they’re part of the event,” St. Amant said.
The late Jesse Turner, former owner of the Berlin Shoebox, started the race in 1989 as a rivalry between town businesses. St. Amant said she’s happy the event has expanded past the limits of downtown Berlin.
“It started out as [having] camaraderie between the storeowners but now it’s … opened up to anybody,” she said.
As for next year, St. Amant said she’s hoping to “get a few more tubs” at the starting line.
“I think it just creates a buzz and you just have to remind people how much fun it is,” St. Amant said.