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Revamped handcar races planned for summer in Santa Rosa

Almost two years after Santa Rosa's popular Great Handcar Regatta ended its four-year run, one of the event's co-founders plans a new rail-car race this summer.

Ty Jones, who created the original Handcar Regatta in 2008 with arts activist Spring Maxfield, calls his new event "Dr. E. P. Kitty's Wunderkammer, Featuring the Great Sonoma Handcar Races."

The plan is to hold the event one Sunday in August at Railroad Square, but Jones is still negotiating with the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit district on the exact date.

2011 Great Handcar Regatta

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"The date is not confirmed," said Tara Matheny-Schuster, arts coordinator for the City of Santa Rosa. The Facebook page for Wunderkammer lists Aug. 25 as the date, but a different date is under discussion, she said.

Jones submitted his application last summer to the city to stage the new event and serious discussions started about a month ago, Matheny-Schuster said.

While Jones confirmed the new event "is a go," he declined comment on the details until the date is confirmed.

The date could be set as soon as next week, she added. Once that happens, Matheny-Schuster and Jones will work out the details of the event in a series of city staff meetings with representatives of the police, fire, parks and transit departments. The application ultimately will go to Kelly Magnuson, deputy director of the Recreation and Parks Department, for approval.

Because SMART is already doing some construction in the Railroad Square district, Wunderkammer won't cover exactly the same area used by the Handcar Regatta, Matheny-Schuster said.

This will be the last summer a handcar festival can be held in the Railroad Square area because SMART plans construction of a passenger platform there, she added.

Working with Jones on Wunderkammer is Praetorian USA of Petaluma, which has co-produced the Northern California Pirate Festival in Vallejo and the Dickens Holiday Crafts Fair in Santa Rosa.


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