Alison Bauman, 10, applies tape to the inside of a raft at the Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA on Friday. About 30 youths were building the rafts from recyclable
Alison Bauman, 10, applies tape to the inside of a raft at the Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA on Friday. About 30 youths were building the rafts from recyclable materials to help promote the Kids Recycled Raft Race Saturday at Union Reservoir. (Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call)

Organizers of this year's kinetics race in Longmont are ramping up the festivities in hopes of recapturing the spirit of the event.

The race used to be the center of a daylong festival in Boulder before the event's main sponsor pulled out in 2007 when the cost became too high, leaving local kinetics enthusiasts stranded, said race organizer Jonathan Sterner. In 2009, participants relaunched the race in Longmont but on a much smaller scale, he said.

If you go

What: Longmont Summer Solstice Happening

When: Saturday; kids race at 2:15 p.m.; adult race at 3 p.m.

Where: Union Reservoir, 461 County Road 26, Longmont

Cost: $8 per vehicle

More info: http://kineticists.org

This year, the Colorado Kineticists group and the City of Longmont are launching the first Longmont Kinetics Summer Solstice Happening. Saturday at Union Reservoir, teams will race flashy, human-propelled sculptures on land and water in the festival's featured event, the kinetics race.

"We're bringing back the excitement of the event for the whole community, not just the participants," Sterner said. "We've taken back control, but we're still celebrating the history."

This will be the 35th kinetics race in Colorado, Sterner said.

Organizers hope that local support from businesses such as Left Hand Brewing Company and groups such as Bicycle Longmont will make the event more sustainable.

"We don't have one big sponsor that we have to rely on for support now," Sterner said. "The local community will continue to support it because it's something fun to do that benefits the whole community."

Activities begin at 11:30 a.m. with music from Craig Cornett and The Phast and Wreckless, followed by an opening ceremony at 1 p.m., a Kids Recycled Raft Race at 2:15 p.m. and the Kinetics race at 3 p.m.

The Kids Recycled Raft Race is changing up the rules for its third year, said Karen Pierce Schaub, youth program leader for the city of Longmont.

In the past, kids ages 10 to 15 have been limited to cardboard and duct tape for building their raft, but this year participants will have a variety of recycled items to choose from.

Competitors may use anything that goes into the city's blue recycle bins to build their raft, Pierce Schaub said.

So far, only one youth team is signed up to compete Saturday, but Pierce Schaub expects several teams to show up to the event this weekend and register on site. Last year, 14 teams participated in the race, she said.

Sujana Gurung, 8, cuts tape from a piece of cardboard at the Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA on Friday.
Sujana Gurung, 8, cuts tape from a piece of cardboard at the Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA on Friday. (Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call)

This summer, Pierce Schaub has been promoting the race at local camps where children have been building practice rafts and testing them out in local pools.

About 30 students, ages 6 to 12, built rafts Friday during a summer camp at the Ed and Ruth Lehman YMCA in Longmont.

Pierce Schaub said the students learn about science, engineering and creativity while building and tweaking the rafts.

Vinyl Underground and Michael Scott Band will perform after the races, and the festival will end with a community drum circle around a bonfire and the burning of a 16-foot, wooden, floating sea monster on the reservoir at dusk.

"I've been to Burning Man the last two years, and there's a level of celebration at the end with a large bonfire, so we're trying to capture that," Sterner said. "We're just putting our own twist on it in the water."

Contact Times-Call community reporter Whitney Bryen at 303-684-5274 or wbryen@times-call.com