BAR HARBOR, Maine — Bed might sound like a good place to spend a snowy Saturday morning.
But racing in that bed down Cottage Street? That’s even better — and silly, slippery fun.
“It was very exciting,” said race announcer and Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Director Chris Fogg. “There’s no better weather than a little bit of snow for a bed race.”
After a ceremonious procession from the Village Green, seven five-person teams pushed rolling beds up and down a closed-off Cottage Street to compete for prizes and glory in Bar Harbor’s inaugural Bed Race.
The race had simple rules — one person had to stay in bed while the rest of the team ran the course as fast as it could in individual time trials.
Chamber officials said they were inspired by the bed race in Eastport and others in such illustrious events as the Kentucky Derby.
“I read about it and I said, ‘You have to do this, because this looks like fun,’” said Rosemary Sheehan of Walpole, Mass., mother of bed racer Sue Sheehan. “We’re having a great time.”
The race extended the festivities of the annual Pajama Sale, where die-hard shoppers get extra deals in the early morning if they wear their nightclothes while shopping.
Many of the bed race’s spectators braved the cold and snow by wearing bathrobes and fuzzy slippers, which pushed the silliness quotient up another notch.
Heidi Warford of Bucksport donned pajamas to race in the Granny and the Babes team, which clocked in at one minute. Despite the team’s noble effort, they came in last in the field.
“It was better than the 10-minute goal we set ourselves,” Warford said. “Couch potatoes up against mountain climbers? I think we’re doing pretty good.”
“There’s nothing like a couch,” cracked another footie- pajama-clad teammate.
“We haven’t met one yet we didn’t like,” said Babe Hildy Lowell of Bucksport.
Another team, the Bed Hogs, decked themselves out in black uniforms and white helmets. They would’ve looked tough — except that they accentuated all of that black with stuffed pink pigs proudly attached to their helmets and curly, pink homemade tails.
“Oh, look at that pig,” gushed a bystander.
Most of the Bed Hogs work in the Center for Genome Dynamics at The Jackson Laboratory. The sprinting scientists almost brought home the bacon, but in a controversial squeaker, they placed second.
The speedy staff at the Mount Desert Island Hospital’s Emergency Room pushed their bed into first place for $500 worth of gift certificates, but other teams complained that the winning bed — a raised crib with handles — should have been disqualified.
“It’s an illegal bed. It’s totally illegal,” said a disgruntled Andrew Flanagan of the Bed Hogs.
The judges overrode protests and allowed the hospital team to claim its first-place prize.
“It’s supposed to be fun,” Fogg said.
The bed steered by the MDI Sailing Team garnered the day’s overall fastest time, but the team placed third in the final heat and did not win any prizes.
“We have the pride of posting the fastest time,” said Tyler Roberts of Salem, Oregon.
Some spectators seemed inspired by the festivities to rig up their own beds to race next year.
Sean Beaulieu, 12, of Tremont was looking for the lollipops thrown by “Granny and the Babes.”
“It’s fun, especially in the snow,” he said.
But his father, boat builder Jean Beaulieu of the Classic Boat Shop, had an eye toward the future.
“Where’s the boat bed?” he asked. “We’ll have to come back next year with a lobster boat bed.”