The Milk Carton Derby?
You've got to be kidding!

No way, but the Milk Carton Derby is something you have to see to believe! It's one of those bizarre festival events that people love to both participate in as well as watch from the sidelines.

So what exactly is the Seafair Milk Carton Derby? That's a great question which is difficult to answer if you've never actually seen it. But, hey, I'll try.

So, try to imagine this. Over 15,000 spectators mulling around the edges of Green Lake, waiting with anticipation as close to 100 homemade boats are launched onto the water. But wait, these aren't ordinary boats. No, that's not how Seattle does things. Are you kidding me? No way.

Instead, these boats have one major requirement that they have to follow before they enter into this pseudo-race, and that is that they have to be completely supported by milk cartons for flotation. Yeah, that's right. It's amazing and like I said, it's something you have to see to believe.

This wonderful event has actually been the kick-off event for Seattle Seafair for over 30 years and is normally held in July. There are nearly 100 entries in the event each year and while some boats hardly make it out of the starting gates before capsizing or sinking, there are others that are there to win one of the many prizes that are offered.

Two categories (a speed boat category as well as a style category) determine the types of boats that are built, and it seems like everyone gets involved, from companies to military teams to families out to have a good time. Everyone races against each other, some for bragging rights, some for the prizes, and some for just to see if their boat can make it the 1200 feet necessary to finish.

Some of the boats are intricate works of art, such as a full-on rubber duckie, a dragon, a train, and even a pirate ship. Others are rafts supported by hundreds of milk cartons (they say that at least 50 are needed to support every 100 pounds) with the whole family riding on board, trying to paddle in a straight line.

All in all, the Milk Carton Derby is a great family even that kicks off one of the biggest festivals in the Northwest. It's free and a great way to see Seattle the way it should be seen and a place the kids would love.

Back from the Milk Carton Derby.