Art Sled Rally 2012: Weird sleds take to the hills of Powderhorn Park

Categories: Festivals
Art Sled 1 Nick Lethert.jpg
Photo by Nick Lethert
What's the kookiest thing that could serve as a sled? Chances are, whatever it is, it'll be at the 5th Annual Art Sled Rally at Powderhorn Park this Saturday. The event is as theatrical as the ArtCar
Parade (one of last year's goofier entrees was a mitten designed by five teenagers). The winter fun is hosted by South Sixteenth High Jinks, a crew that includes founding members from BareBones' Halloween Extravaganza and the May Day Parade.

Last weekend, City Pages dropped in on the event's free community workshop. While there we got an eyeful of the phrenetic activity involved in sled making, and spoke with Julian McFaul of South Sixteenth High Jinks.

What have your favorite sleds been over the years?

Art Sled 2 Anna Lethert.jpg
Photo by Anna Lethert
One year there was a giant, playable cardboard guitar that went down the hill. They were playing Frank Zappa's "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama."

Neighborhood legend and welder Matt Carlyle took a walk down the Appalachian Trail one year, and when he came back he realized that he was an artist. He and some of the welding community built a 700-pound table that went down the hill. There were six or seven people around an elegant meal on the table, and one of them had a chainsaw. Nobody watching knew this, but it didn't have the chain on it. They were dining on roasted goat, with the person up front running the chainsaw. The back had flamethrowers that were shooting flames about 15 feet in the air behind them. When the table hit the bottom of the hill, it completely destroyed a number of sleds lined up there. The wipe-outs that happen are just incredible.

Uh-huh, tell us more.

Art Sled 1 Anna Lethert.jpg
Photo by Anna Lethert
There was a woman who went down on a 400-pound bed on skis. The same thing happened. She had no controls on it. She had a crash helmet and was bundled under covers. So, she just let it rip.

Also, there's a girl named Wellesley in the neighborhood. She's been building sleds since she was four. Every year she's here. She starts planning what she's building in spring. The first year she went down, she took some air. Coming off the slope, she must have gone three or four feet in this tiny little -- I can't remember what it was, I think it was an alligator or Hello Kitty. She was fine when she landed.

I remember a shark came down the hill one year. When it hit the bottom, it busted open. You would think that only one kid would get out of the shark, but kid, after kid, after kid came out of the busted mouth. There must have been 9 or 12 kids in there. Every time another kid came out they got more applause. It was just great.

Art Sled 1 Tiffany Rodgers.jpg
Photo by Tiffany Rodgers
Kids work on their sled together
Is there anything new or different this year? Anything attendees need to prep for?

This year we're expanding the performances on the slopes. The Brass Messengers will be performing. There was an idea that the Brass Messengers should play while sliding down the hill, but they were worried about their teeth. There might be a couple other artists singing, and maybe a choir. There will be a dance troupe that is choreographing a piece on a snowy slope.

We're going to try to have two sledding runs this year side-by-side so that we can stagger people, and we won't have to wait so long to set up. There's often free hot cocoa or coffee to help keep people warm. The event starts at 2 p.m., but if you're bringing a sled come a half-hour early.

Art Sled 2 Tiffany Rodgers.jpg
Photo by Tiffany Rodgers

5th Annual Art Sled Rally
Saturday, January 28
Powderhorn Park
3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Free, 2 p.m.

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