This year, teapot racing was added to the schedule at the Steampunk World's Fair for the first time.
The quickly growing popularity of this sport was evident in the crowded boardroom where the Splendid Teapot Racing panel was held Saturday morning. This picture was taken at the conclusion of the panel, after some people had already left. Before that, it had been standing room only and two of the attendees stepped out into the hall, to make room for other people who were trying to enter.
I had the honor of being one of the panelists, along with the founding fathers of American teapot racing, Stephen Chapman and Daniel Lee Hawk.
The medals and trophies created by Lois Wallace:
The race itself was early (9:00 a.m.) on Sunday morning. On day three of a convention that includes late night activities, 9:00 a.m. is a difficult time. This past Sunday, the difficulty was increased by President Obama speaking at the commencement at near-by Rutger's University. People who were not staying in the host hotels, were redirected at road blocks. My family ended up seeing much more of the town and Rutger's than we intended, after receiving bad directions and getting lost. As a result, we missed most of the teapot racing, but Blaze and I were still allowed to race once we got there.
Daniel Hawk captured the whole race on video:
The main race was followed by the chaos that is Teapot Drag Racing. Many of the racers were on the same frequency, which caused them to go wildly astray and look more like bumper cars, except for Daniel Hawk's little teapot racer, which zoomed straight for the finish line.
My husband's video of the drag race:
James Hatton was the MC for the races. I don't believe he had ever seen a teapot race before. He had, also, been Master of Ceremony for the Speakeasy and burlesque show the night before, so he should have been half-asleep at an early morning event like this, but a true showman never lets the audience down. He kept things moving at a good pace, filled in the "dead time" created by the judges calculations, and kept the crowd laughing.
He was so excited about teapot racing that he became airborne:
The judges inspecting the racers:
There were so many creative entries!
Tallying the points:
The coin toss, because two racers were tied for first place:
One person, who showed up with a racer at the panel, never showed up at the race. I had been looking forward to seeing his teapot racer in operation, because it both drove along the ground and flew, which raised some interesting new questions about rules. I don't know if he overslept or was lost some where in Piscataway, NJ.
There was a good turnout for the races, which increased in number as the races went on, but I have a feeling that it would have attracted even more contestants and spectators if it had been held at a more sensible hour. Personally, I'm a fan of teapot races at teatime.