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AVAM's Kinetic Sculpture Race is this weekend. Here's what to know, including road closures

BALTIMORE -- The American Visionary Art Museum's perfectly on-brand Kinetic Sculpture Race will be held Saturday, May 4, organizers said. 

The theme of the race is "Monuments and Masterpieces." As usual, some parking restrictions and lane closures will be in place Saturday to accommodate the whacky race. 

Road closures and parking restrictions to expect


  • Covington Street will be closed to through traffic between Key Highway and Cross Street beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday through 6 p.m. on Saturday.
  • During the race on Saturday, one lane of travel will be coned off for participants along the race route wherever possible.

The following parking restrictions will be implemented 

  • Covington Street from Key Highway to Cross Street: from 7 a.m. Thursday until 6 p.m. on Saturday  
  • South side of Key Highway from Battery Avenue to Covington Street: Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • South side of Key Highway from Williams Street to Light Street: Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • South side of Boston Street from Aliceanna Street to East Avenue: Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What's the Kinetic Sculpture Race? 

The people-powered race consists of large and elaborate art sculptures traveling across central Baltimore, dipping into the city's neighborhoods and parks.

There are 24 teams registered to participate in the 24th annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. There are even student entries with three teams from the Jemicy School - which has a course designed to prepare students for the race - and teams from St. Paul's School for Boys and The Park School. 

Competitors pedal their kinetic sculpture on the water at Baltimore harbor during The American Visionary Art Museum 2022 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 7, 2022. - Those competing in the Kinetic Sculpture Race go between street and water to finish a lap around Baltimore neighborhoods and the harbor. JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images

There's another serious contender this year: Mechanical engineering students from Duke University are coming up to participate in the race for the first time, the museum said. 

Entries have ranged from one-man art vehicles to 75-foot-long sophisticated vehicles that must be powered by a team of people. The sculptures are typically constructed from bicycles, gears, and recycled materials

Participants will have to travel through 15 miles of downtown Baltimore streets, mud and sand pits at Patterson Park, and the waters of the Inner Harbor, but it isn't a race for first place.

The highest honor in the Kinetic Sculpture Race is the Grand Mediocre Champion, awarded to the team that finishes exactly in the middle of the pack, the museum said.   

Further honors include ACE, Best Pit Crew, Sock Creature of the Universe, Worst Honorable Mention, and Spirit of the Glorious Founder. 

Here's a schedule, as provided by AVAM: 

  • 8 a.m. Safety Check & Brake Test
  • 9:30 a.m. Opening Ceremonies at AVAM
  • 10 a.m. LeMans Start of Race on Covington Street
  • 11:15-1:00 p.m. Water Entry at Canton Waterfront
  • 1:15-3:30 p.m. Sand & Mud Obstacles in Patterson Park
  • 4 p.m. Finish Line at AVAM
  • 6 - 7 p.m. Awards Ceremony at AVAM
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