Every September, the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden, known for John Waters films, funky local shops, and hon culture, celebrates its local community with Hampdenfest. This one-day festival includes a pie-eating contest, musical performances, and toilet races.
Hampdenfest, a festival that takes place on West 36th Street (also known as “The Avenue”), brings together local artists and merchants for a fun day of food, music, and games in order to “encourage the continued improvement and economic vitality of our neighborhood and the arts,” as stated on the Hampdenfest website.
One event sets this neighborhood festival apart, displaying Hampden’s general attitude of embracing of the weird and wonderful. Similar to Baltimore’s long-running Kinetic Sculpture Race, the annual Toilet Race Competition has competitors race toilets on wheels down 36th Street.
Toilet Racer vehicles must include “one clean human defecation device,” according to the rules, driven by at least one pilot. While some past competitors chose urinals or outhouses as their defecation device of choice, most go for the toilet since it’s easy to sit on while driving.
The toilet vehicles and their crew go all out with theming, with funky helmets, costumes, and funny names like “The Hopkins Johns,” piloted by Johns Hopkins students, or the “Rat Czar,” whose pilot wears a rat mascot head.
Other fun contests to partake in at Hampdenfest include the Dangerously Delicious Pie Eating Contest, where the first to finish their pie wins a free pie a month for a year, and the Rocket to Venus Atomic Wings Challenge, where contestants have to get through 10 Atomic Breath Hot Wings, made with habanero and Carolina Reaper peppers. A popular locally owned restaurant hosts each event.
Festival attendees can enjoy local vendors and musicians along “The Avenue,” with plenty of stalls, stores, and outdoor racks selling their wares, plus three stages with performances throughout the day. Some Hampden stores even have exclusive discounts for the festival, so be on the lookout for a sweet deal.
With all this, Hampdenfest is a great sample of one of Baltimore’s coolest—and quirkiest—neighborhoods. So, whether you’ve been in Baltimore for years or just days, it’s a good time for all.
Hampdenfest 2018 takes place September 8, 2018, from 11 AM–7 PM on West 36th Street, Baltimore, MD.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.