By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Region – The Collings Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation devoted to supporting living history events to encourage learning by participation, will host the seventh annual Race of the Century July 26 and 27. The event, which pits some of the greatest mobile technological advancements against each other, will take place at the organization's headquarters, 137 Barton Road in Stow. The entire facility will be open each day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with races starting at around 1 p.m.
“The goal of the races is to highlight the advancements of competing transportation technologies from the 1800s to current time – through a series of races,” said Hunter Chaney, director of marketing for the Collings Foundation. “It is the finest form of “edutainment.””
In the spirit of historic cross-transportation contests, the Race of the Century illustrates the significance of engineering advancements in transportation. Beginning with the most primitive forms of transportation – someone running, bicycle, horse and the “motorized carriage” – the races progress as winners move on to challenge the next “new thing.”
Scheduled races include: a 1867 Concord Stagecoach versus a 1904 Franklin Type A Roadster; 1900 horses and buggy versus a 1906 Stanley Steamer; 1914 Stutz Bearcat versus 1909 Bleriot Type XI Flying Machine; and a 1937 Offy Sprint Racer versus a Stearman PT-17 biplane.
From the invention of the first auto carriages (“horseless carriage”) in the early 1900s to the invention of the “flying machine,” each new creation was poised to solve the transportation issues of the day. The traditional horse and buggy quickly became history with the emergence of auto carriages, such as the 1905 Franklin and aircraft such as the 1909 Bleriot Type XI. The Race of that Century showcases these advancements.
“We can read about history but to experience it is a whole different thing,” Chaney said. “That is what this event is – an experience in history.”
The entire Collings Foundation collection – exhibits and displays – will be open for viewing during the event. Included are aircraft from the early 1900s up to the Korean War Era. There will be World War II aircraft flight available as well. Visitors will be able to ride in a PT-17 Stearman biplane ($200 for a 20-minute ride) or an AT-6 Texan Fighter Trainer ($390 for a 30-minute ride).
The Collings Foundation programs are seen by over 3.5 million people every year.
“The majority of our programs are designed to honor our veterans and engage people in history – in the most thoughtful and penetrating ways we know,” Chaney said. “We have a network of over 2,000 volunteers across the United States that help make our programs possible.”
The Race of the Century is a public event with no reservations necessary. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children.
Event planners welcome additional machines and mobile contraptions from the early 1900s. To join the races you must be able to operate on close-cut grass and participate on both Saturday and Sunday. To submit your entries, send a brief description to [email protected]
To learn more about the Collings Foundation, visit collingsfoundation.org.
Watch footage from a previous Collings Foundation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLpcgBbdh4c.