Started in 2013, Saturday’s event marked five years of people coming to Elizabeth Park to slide their creations down the hill, knowing often that their hard work would unravel mid-slope. Competitors of all ages strapped on helmets (sometimes) and tried their luck
There is a long tradition of using art to break the silence around issues that are often dodged at Thanksgiving dinners. Participants in past years’ Hartford Art Sled Derby have done this, but in fewer numbers than in 2017.
“Rogue NASA” was among the political statement sleds this year. Another participant corrected “Alternate Facts” about where the first flight occurred, before “flying” his sled downhill.
The most elaborate of these was “The Wall,” a sled that included pro-immigrant chanting and sign-waving; spectators who were not previously clued in to the act began shouting along. At the bottom of the hill, once fully stopped, the riders seated inside the graffiti-covered wall dramatically tore it down.
Not all entries were political. There were sleds devoted to The Big Lebowski, Nicolas Cage, and Doctor Who. “The Knit Knight” featured chainmail armor made from yarn. A dragon boat sled, inspired by Hartford’s dragon boat races, earned the attention it received.
As always, there were some spectacular wipe-outs, including the collision of a cream sled with a coffee sled.
The Hartford Hot Several performed, as is the tradition, and elaborate trophies were awarded at the end of the fast-paced event.
Missed it? Mark your calendar for the weekend near Valentine’s Day next year.