BOONTON – Ever have one of those dreams where you’re riding down the highway… on your bed?
The Boonton Parks and Recreation Department has its calendar packed with events and public entertainment for this year after COVID -19, including a two-part event scheduled on Saturday, May 7 for the public.
The dual events will feature two different parts, including a bed race called “Rollin Down Main” from 2 to 4 pm followed by “The Winners Circle Derby Party” from 4 to 7 pm right after. The bed race will take place along Main Street, and then a Kentucky-style derby party will follow at the Boonton Senior Center, which will include a live streaming of the Kentucky Derby.
The bed race does require an age limit of 18 and up and will require participants to register at the Boonton Parks and Recreation website. The bed race requires teams of five each to build the bed and compete for three different categories, including: creativity, theme and speed.
The bed size is strongly suggested to be a queen size and teams will need to come up with a creative theme. Four pushers will be placed on each corner to control everything and a driver will simply just sit. The pushers will be steering the bed as they run.
“This is the first time we are doing this,” said Tracy Pryer, director at the Boonton Parks and Recreation. “I come up with the events and coordinate them. However, I can’t take credit for the bed-race, the mayor (Mayor Richard Corcoran) came up with it, and I came up with the derby,” she said.
“I felt if we do the bed race, my idea was to bring history of the event and live stream the derby party with it.”
For the Kentucky derby event, people are invited to dress in traditional derby style with fancy and quirky hats and outfits. The outfits can range in different pastel colors and can be long dresses and big hats. There will be prizes for the best hats and the best overall derby outfit.
The bed race event will also pick three winners on each different category and winners will receive trophies. Both of the events are free to attend and watch, except participating in the bed race, which will include a $50 fee.
“I never heard of bed races before, so it was a challenge and I had to learn first about it,” Pryer said. “I learned that it is a tradition with the Kentucky Derby week.”
The Kentucky Derby event will also feature a food truck for attendees to purchase food and drinks. There will be no vendors, but a beer garden will be there for adults no later than 7 pm right after the derby race ends. The derby might get delayed depending on the bed race, however.
“The crazier the better for the best hat and outfit contest,” Pryer said.
“Look up derby outfits on Google and plan it. They are pastel colors and they wear traditional hats as well. I won’t be able to dress up because I will be running around. We thought of bringing something different to the public and it will be fun playing dress-up and living the Kentucky traditions.”
Residents will also be joined by Mayor Corcoran, who will be participating in the bed race as well.
“He came up to me for this event specially and wanted to participate,” Pryer said. “It was definitely a process because we have to close the roads and come to an agreement. We had to do it in a safe manner and create guidelines and safety for the beds. The most important part was to make sure the first event flows with the next one,” she said.
“I really hope everyone has a good time and they will.”
Pryer said everything was planned in an affordable -and safe-manner.
The Parks and Reaction Center will feature various events in the upcoming spring, summer and especially fall. The events will feature car shows, book festivals, a future “Santa Run,” a tree lighting and more. The next event will be on Sunday, May 22 along Main Street and will feature a car, bike and truck show for the public.
“We are jammed out with events this fall,” Pryer said. “We are back on track, Covid kept us down for two years, but now we are extremely excited to have a packed calendar. Last Halloween, we had almost 2,000 people for our Trick or Treat event.”
Pryer said she gets help from her daughter to come up with fun events.
“My goal as a director is to try and bring new and exciting events for the community,” she said. “We are bringing new playgrounds and a basketball field in the summer for everyone as well. I am very happy to see people coming out and seeing the new normal.”
Pryer said that there are many new ideas, but they can be hard to implement and can be difficult to bring to fruition. She hopes to bring them to life and says that Boonton will be very busy this year.
Whoever chooses to participate in the bed race will need to enroll online at Boonton website, under the recreation tab and click on enroll under the events tab. There are safety guidelines, but no Covid guidelines since the events are outside.