Midsummer at the Museum’s second annual summer party promises to be a great time for all

Cheap Dates: Wife-carrying race at Knox Museum, June 21

Saturday, June 21, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Fri, 06/20/2014 - 8:00am

    Ah... summer. As much as I love a good bonfire and fireworks, music and pig roasts, what I really want to see is some guy carrying his gal over his shoulder like a Hefty Bag full of meat across a finish line.

    Welcome to this week’s Cheap Date: The wife-carrying race at the Knox Museum’s annual summer party, Saturday, June 21.

    The sport was first introduced in Finland and yes, it is a sport. Sunday River has their annual North Atlantic Wife Carrying Championship in October.

    Midcoast has now got roller derby and adult dodgeball teams. It’s about time we got our own wife-carrying race. According to 19th-Century Finnish legend, the sport is based on a master thief who had high standards for whom he allowed into his gang. To prove their worth, men had to compete through a difficult course carrying either a heavy sack or a woman grabbed from neighboring villages on their back. (Obvious question: who, here is the teeniest bit offended? Let’s see a show of hands.)

    In the wife-carrying race, technique is up for grabs. Wives may be carried by piggyback, the fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist). Clearly, the delicate flower that I am would not be participating in this third technique. See accompanying photo and remember that the Internet never forgets.

    Expect to see some stumbling, maybe some face plants, maybe some dropped wives. But if you’re thinking about joining this race and start joking around about her weight, expect to experience some face plants yourself.

    You sign up when you get there. (And I assume same sex couples can sign up their wives as well?) Last year, there were about 15 couples participating in a marked off course behind course behind Montpelier in a 40-yard-dash, competing in about four or five heats. The winners get to take home bottles of wine and memberships to the Museum.

    This is the second year the Museum has put on its annual Midsummer at the Museum party. Last year, the event was free and got completely swarmed.  Tobin Malone, Knox Museum’s Executive Director said: “People have told us this has been the best outdoor party they’ve been to in Maine. What we loved about it was that there were young kids all the way up to their 90s and they equally enjoyed themselves.” 

    Event starts at 6:30 p.m. and the wife carrying race starts around 8 p.m. This has all the markings of a Cheap Date, especially if you buy advance tickets for adults for only $10 and $8 for Museum members. Get there early and stay late. There will be a bonfire, cash bar, live music, dancing, flower crowns, fireworks, and a traditional pig roast buffet. Tickets: $15 adults/$12 members/$4 kids at the door. FMI: knoxmuseum.org

    PS: There is so much going on food, festival and fun-wise this weekend so check out this weekend’s underCURRENT column.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com