Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race Iconic FishBy Jennifer Myers

“Go Jay! Flying Fish! Flying Fish!” chanted the crowd of hundreds who swarmed Rynne Beach on the shore of the Merrimack River.

Hometown favorite Jay Hungate pushed his legs with all his might to propel his Iconic Flying Fish kinetic sculpture out of the river, through its sandy bottom and up onto the beach during the third leg of Lowell’s first Kinetic Sculpture Race.

Seven human-powered feats of engineering delighted spectators young and old Saturday, Sept. 24, as they made their way from Market Street, down “Bone-Shaker Alley” (cobblestoned Middle Street), through the unforgiving mud pit at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, across the Howe Bridge to Pawtucket Boulevard’s Sampas Pavilion, into the river, and back through the downtown to Market Street.

Leading the racers, riding in a jeep driven by Brew’d Awakening Coffee Haus proprietor Andy Jacobson (wearing a pink feather boa), stood two of the race judges – City Councilor Corey Belanger and WCAP Morning Show host Teddy Panos, dressed as kings, complete with golden crown and red and white regal capes. It did not take along for them to perfect their perfect royal wave.

Teams came from as close as Lowell and as far as Baltimore. One of the sculptures, “Mousetrap,” a giant human-sized pedal-driven hamster ball, was sent to Lowell from Oregon in two suitcases; it was powered by UMass Lowell Art and Design students.

Mayor Edward Kennedy was particularly impressed by the quality of the kinetic sculptures

“We could make this event ours. We could really own this,” Kennedy said, surveying the green at Sampas Pavilion, buzzing with racers, spectators, music and a variety of food trucks all boasting long lines.

Kennedy said the first race was an impressive start and the event shows a lot of potential for making it bigger; next year he said he would like to see local engineering schools, like Worcester Polytechnic Institute and others, to participate.

The 2016 Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race Award Recipients are:

  • The Very Very Competitive Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race ACE Champion- Cheetah Cheetah
  • ACE Medals- Cheetah Cheetah and Kinetic Duck
  • The Very Competitive Non-Competitive Award of Mediocrity- Enter the Dragon(Fly)
  • Peoples’ Choice Award- Iconic Flying FishThe Next to Last Award- Mousetrap
  • The Golden Dinosaur Award- Think Tank
  • Best Costume- Cheetah Cheetah
  • Pilots’ Choice Award- Midnight Machine
  • Golden Flipper Award- Kraken Upcycle
  • The Engineering Award- Iconic Flyng Fish
  • The Speed Award- Midnight Machine
  • Best Bribes Award- Iconic Flyng Fish

To learn more about the race visit lowellkinetic.com.



About The Author

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. A former reporter at The Sun newspaper for more than a decade, she later immersed herself in city politics as an aide to past Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy. While working at City Hall, her Room 50 blog became one of the most popular news sources in Lowell. A history maven, Jennifer can usually be found combing through old newspaper clippings and documents at the Pollard Library or rummaging through cobwebbed attics, basements, historic places and forgotten spaces to uncover pieces of Lowell’s past. She is also the author of "There's a Lot to Like About...This Blog" at alottolike.wordpress.com.