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Berlin Bathtub Races set June 14

Local businesses will once again compete for a trophy, and bragging rights, in the 34th installment of the Berlin Bathtub Races won June 14.

Berlin bathtub-'22

Participants in the 2022 Berlin Bathtub races are pictured rolling toward the finish line.
File photo

By Bethany Hooper, Associate Editor

Local businesses will once again compete for the trophy, and bragging rights, in the 34th installment of the Berlin Bathtub Races.

On Friday, June 14, the Berlin Chamber of Commerce will host its 34th annual Berlin Bathtub Races. Starting at 6 p.m., competitors will race their modified bathtubs down Main Street as onlookers cheer from the sidelines in what has become the town’s most beloved summer sporting event.

“We are thrilled to host the Bathtub Race’s 34th year,” said Ryan Nellans, the chamber’s executive director. “It has already been the most exciting build-up to any race we’ve had yet with sixteen teams and two reserve teams registered. The competition will be tight as two-time champion Derek Jarmon of Maryland’s Coast is stepping back and making room for new faces and new names on the Turner Cup. While the Chamber runs a lot of events like Jazz & Blues and the Fiddler’s Convention, those help bring new folks to Berlin. The Bathtub Race is something we do for ourselves. It’s a little weird, it’s a little silly, but it’s ours, and that’s why it’s my favorite.”

Each year, participating businesses show off their speed and pageantry by racing their modified bathtubs in a series of heats, with the final two teams left competing for the trophy. The bathtubs themselves must be authentic and homemade and capable of holding at least two gallons of water. Wheels can be no bigger than 26 inches, and bathtubs must have breaks and steering.

The winning team will have their name added to the Turner Cup, which will return from its winterlong display at the Worcester County Recreation and Parks facility in Snow Hill. The trophy pays homage to Jesse Turner, a longtime Berlin business owner who helped start the races and went on to win them several times. 

Nellans added that the Berlin Bathtub Races will feature an opening parade, as well as carnival snack vendors onsite. For the third year in a row, WBOC’s Delmarva Sports Network will be broadcasting the event live for those who cannot attend. 

He said the event would not be possible without the support of community members, volunteers and sponsors.

“Personally, I’m pumped to see a previously unheard of level of support from racers, residents and local businesses like our Spring Season Sponsor Bradley Atlantic, as well as Taylor Bank, Coastal Baths and our Hula Hoop Heroes, Pohanka of Salisbury,” he said.

For more information on the Berlin Bathtub Races, visit the events page on the Berlin Chamber of Commerce website.

This story appears in the June 6, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.