Great West End Regatta – Santa Rosa, California - Atlas Obscura
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Santa Rosa, California

Great West End Regatta

Hand-powered race of alternative forms of transportation. 

Sorry, Great West End Regatta is permanently closed.

Meant as a public celebration of mechanical railcar races and costumed performing arts as well as community participation and human ingenuity. Every year in Santa Rosa, California, teams organize to promote sustainability and methods of alternative transportation.

The regatta is a full-on exposition of these ideals, but at the center of the day’s events is a series of railcar races in which teams board their human-powered creations and zip down the tracks.

“Tinkerers, artists, and eccentrics both young and old are invited to participate in artistic and mechanical innovation upon a playful and inspired mixture of fond remembrance for a stylized industrial railroad past remixed with progressive styles and technologies of today,” according to the Regatta’s official website. “The public is invited to partake in the Regatta through a participatory attitude, costumed buffoonery, and enlightened interaction (never fear: those with inhibitions in the costume department need not worry, feel free to come as you are and enjoy).”

Though it ended in 2011, the Regatta returned in 2013 as Wunderkammer featuring The Great Sonoma County Handcar Races.