To train for competition, bartender Paul Strike plans to clean his home. Someone advised him to vacuum in the unfamiliar footwear he'll run in: women's platform shoes.
Actually, the uniform for Strike's Washed Ashore Team from Lulu's Place in Delray Beach is supposed to include high heels, coconut tops, and grass skirts. But captain Terry Eichas agreed to the use of platforms. It may not be the most athletic of attire, but at least it'll be a blast.
Obviously, this isn't your average sporting event; some would hesitate even to relate it to sport. But competitors take the fifth-annual Pineapple Grove Bed Race fairly seriously. After all, the prize includes a trip to Hawaii.
The event, sponsored by Pineapple Grove Main Street, an arts and business district in Delray Beach, features 16 teams competing for two awards. In addition to the bed race, the best dressed bed will also be honored after a prerace parade.
"The beds are decorated for the parade in elaborate style,'' says Glenn Weiss, program manager for Pineapple Grove Main Street. The Lulu's Place bed, for example, is going to wear a grass skirt, just like its team members.
For the race, each bed is pushed by four team members. A fifth person sits on top. At the turn-around point, the teammates are required to fit through a hula hoop while holding hands. This, of course, involves a lot of shimmying and wiggling.
The cost to enter the event is $200, which goes toward expenses, including sending the winners to Hawaii. Watching is free. It's also hilarious.
The teams represent several local businesses, as well as crews from the city's ocean rescue and fire departments. "It's funny to see all these goofy people in the parade," Weiss says.
And although they're dressed for Hawaii, the high-heeled, coconut-topped team from Lulu's doesn't expect to win -- it's tough to run in heels, after all. But at least one team member will be able to say there are no crumbs in his carpet.