Toilets hit the streets at Hampdenfest

Dozens create racers out of "johns"

BALTIMORE - People ditched the porta pottys and brought their own toilets to Hampdenfest on Saturday.

The toilet-toting festival goers did not use the johns to "relieve" themselves -- but to race.

 "This is my rookie year," said Matt Fouse.

Fouse is an artist who lives in Charles Village.  Most people know him as The Baltimore Rat Czar.  

The Baltimore Rat Czar is responsible for the stickers seen around Baltimore depicting a rat with the letters B-A-L-T on it.  The bottom of the sticker reads "Charm City".

Fouse was asked by a friend to join the race this year.  It was an offer he could not refuse because of the "absolute craziness and absurdity of it."

PHOTOS | 2013 Hampdenfest toilet races

He used old car parts and items people donated to build his racer.  

"I put this together in my garage," Fouse explained.

The last piece to add on was the brakes.

"Probably should've been the first thing to deal with," he laughed.
For those races who were not as handy, race organizers held a build day before the big day.  They handed out free toilets.
"Bring what you built, you know... drive it down the street with a toilet on it.  It doesn't get any crazier than that," said Fouse.
He was ready to take the plunge down the hill.
The Baltimore Rat Czar and his team readied themselves at the start line.  In the blink of an eye, they were off!
The announcer screamed he won by a nose.

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Racer after racer barreled down the hill, next to The Avenue, toward stacks of hay at the finish line.
Hapdenfest started as a local community event organized by Hampden area leaders.  In recent years, it has evolved into a neighborhood arts festival that draws visitors and locals.
There were four stages with music and art performances, an activity area for children, film viewings, and arts and crafts.
The neighborhood is also well known for the Hon Festival, which is held through the summer months.
Michael Quander
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