Over 200 New Haven residents gathered on the New Haven Green on Sunday morning for the third annual New Haven Bed Race.
In the race, organized by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee since 2015, teams of four people push a fifth person on a wheel-mounted bed, racing against one another for a distance of about 50 yards. The race is a revival of an earlier New Haven bed race — a major city event in the 1990s. This is the third year the event is back.
“The New Haven bed race was a vital part [of the city] years ago, and we’re just trying to build it up to the glory that it was,” said Fiona Stewart, the race chair.
At the beginning of the event, which was held in front of the Connecticut Financial Center on Church Street, Stewart advised spectators to stay clear of the road.
“We don’t want anyone getting hit by a bed,” she said.
In an interview with the News, Stewart said that the race aims to engage members of the community. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee will donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. This year’s race, aside from benefitting the parade, also raised money for New Reach, a local nonprofit dedicated to fighting homelessness and providing affordable housing to Connecticut families.
The teams are drawn from local organizations, ranging from fire department engine houses to Irish pubs and associations to nonprofit summer camps. The crowd at the event also drew heavily from the Irish and firefighting communities, with Irish and “thin red line” flags flying behind the race podium.
The Fire Engine No. 8 bed won this year’s race, edging out last year’s victors, Engine No. 9, in a repeat of last year’s final.
“Victory is bittersweet here,” said Capt. Seamus Bohan, the leader of Engine No. 8’s team and the 2018 race chair. “Engine 9, they’re great bunch of guys, and we have a lot of history with them, in playing softball and all kinds of activities. This is the first time that we’ve beat them at anything and to win, it’s a revenge factor, which is fantastic.”
The event was fun for participants and important for the community, said Dayna Kasprzycki, manager of Christy’s Pub and leader of their bed race team. She added that the race helps fund the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, something she considers an important event in New Haven.
“So events like this, they’re not only fun for the community, they’re fun for us, there are a lot of people who get involved, and it’s all for a good cause at the end of the day,” Kasprzycki said.
A postrace after-party was held at Anna Liffey’s Irish Pub and Restaurant.
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