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Willits event to add touch of Santa Rosa handcar regatta

Real and imagined historical contraptions will join forces this weekend in Willits when the Roots of Motive Power's annual Steam-up teams up with the city's first Kinetic Carnivale.

The carnivale is based on Santa Rosa's Great Handcar Regatta, which was cancelled this year. The festival features "steampunk" enthusiasts who dress in corsets, top hats, leather boots and goggles, and ride fantastical contraptions that evoke a past that never was. The handcar drivers will test their metal mettle Sunday during timed races at the Skunk Train depot.

More traditional handcars also will race, and dozens of genuine historic contraptions will be on display. The Roots of Motive Power, a volunteer organization that collects, restores and operates steam-powered equipment, will be firing up boilers and running locomotives, cranes and donkeys. Free, five-minute train rides will be available around the train loop, said Alison Glassey, director of the Mendocino County Museum, a sponsor of the event.

RIP Regatta: A Look Back

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It's "a way of making history fun," she said.

Another new feature of the event is a grand ball being held Saturday night in the museum engine house. There will be three bands and performances with fire and aerial silks.

Costumes are encouraged but not required, Glassey said.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For information about specific event times and admissions, go to kineticcarnivale.com.

Contact Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com.


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