BAR HARBOR — The Criterion Theatre puts on a good show.
So it’s only natural that it would add a bit of theatrical flair to the Bar Harbor Bed Races this Saturday.
The eighth annual race begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday following the annual Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Pajama Sale, which begins at 6 a.m.
Teams of four runners and a bed rider race from the Criterion to Main Street and back again for prizes and bragging rights.
While it is not the most athletic – or serious – of races, it has become a fun tradition for participants and bystanders.
For the Criterion Theatre team, the day is about supporting the institution.
The Rum Runners are made up of Director Heather Martin, her 11-year-old son Toby, House Manager Chuck Colbert, Media Manager Kristin Leffler and Nathanael Lee.
There are few rules for how to create the beds. It must have a real mattress, four wheels and no mechanical propulsion or brakes.
To create the Rum Runners’ bed, the team is using mostly found items from backstage, with the exception of the mattress and metal twin bed frame.
Railings around the bed are parts of an old crib likely used as a prop for a live production. The wheels were found lying around the building.
The bed’s base is a temporary wooden marquee from 2008. Some of the bed’s décor was found in the theater and fits the theater’s 1920s Art Deco feel.
The Rum Runners’ theme is a nod to the building’s former life as a speakeasy during Prohibition.
“We are going with the prohibition-Art Deco theme,” said Leffler.
“We’re keeping it very ‘Criterion,’” said Colbert.
Leffler plans to wear a flapper dress. Other Rum Runners will don ‘20s attire.
Most runners spend weeks or months training for races, but that has not been a top priority for the Criterion team.
“We have not done any training,” said Lee. “I think some other teams get really into it.”
They are more focused on having fun than winning.
“We are theater kids. We will live in the moment,” said Colbert. “We’ll make it look good and make sure we don’t fail miserably at our task.”
During the sale, participating businesses will open their doors from 6-9 a.m. when they will offer discounts on merchandise and even bigger discounts for those wearing pajamas.
Starting at 7:30 a.m., the Criterion will show the hit action movie “Doctor Strange” ahead of the bed race for shoppers in need of a break or spouses in need of a diversion.
At 10 a.m., the Bed and Pajama Parade will leave from the Village Green and stop at Cottage and Rodick streets. The races start at 10:15 a.m., and the top three finishers will run in a second heat to determine the first and second-place winners.
First-place winners will receive $500 in Bar Harbor gift checks and a trophy; second place will be awarded $200 in town gift checks. The winners of “Best Decorated” will win dinner and a movie from The Thirsty Whale and the Criterion.