PHOTOS: The uniquely Philly contraptions at the 2018 Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

The infamous mud pit claimed several victims.

Chris Montgomery / Billy Penn

Rain couldn’t keep crowds away from the 12th annual Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival Saturday afternoon, as hundreds lined Trenton Avenue to browse handmade crafts, sip local beers and gawk and laugh at the most humorously fascinating vehicles to ever grace Philly streets.

The centerpiece of the fest is a competition that pits tinkerers and creatives against one another for the chance to be awarded prizes.

Base rules are relatively simple: craft a human-powered machine that can maintain a 3 mph speed along a short route. But along the way are multiple obstacles — cobblestones, silly string gauntlets, a mud pit — that make getting to the finish line tougher than it seems.

Add the incentive to trick out your vehicle in order to be deemed “best costumed” or have it make the “best pun,” and the scene gets downright ridiculous, in the best way.

What’d the kinetic sculptures look like this year? Scroll down to find out.

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Some finishing touches were applied right before the starting line.

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Others were obviously ready before they left the house. (A family that hives together, thrives together? Sorry.)

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It was all about the vehicle for some participants.

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While others appeared more interested in putting together cool costumes.

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And lots of folks did both at once.

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Creativity: 2/10. Ability to ride a bike while inside a blowup suit: 12/10 very impressive sir.

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Good headgear is key.

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Speaking of blowup suits and headgear. At least the bikes being connected meant there was no chance of a wandering eye…

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There was plenty of joy to go around (even Oscar the Grouch couldn’t bring him down).

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The fellow on the left was not about the rainbows and sparkles. (Word on the street is that was a real human skeleton on the back of his bike.)

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Trash was the theme for a team that called themselves the “Crazy Bike Clan.”

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First District Councilman Mark Squilla was one of the judges at the infamous mud pit this year.

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Which is always a giant challenge, no matter how many plastic bag floaties you tie on.

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Oscar started out strong…

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…but needed some help to make it through.

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One of Oscar’s compatriots, however…

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…was not so lucky. (It’s ok, there’s actually a prize for best mud pit breakdown.)

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Maybe a costume would have helped?

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In the end, it’s all about having fun.


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