With the final figures in, Chiditarod reports an astonishing figure: it collected nearly twice as much food as previously anticipated. According to posts on Facebook and Twitter, the race ultimately pulled in over $18,000 and 19,087 pounds of canned food for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.
Hundreds of costumed lunatics poured out onto Hubbard Street Saturday afternoon, pushing shopping carts filled with canned food and rambling toward any of a dozen bars in West Town.
This is the Chiditarod: a combination pub crawl, shopping cart race, costume contest and charity food drive. Teams of five racers dress in themed costumes, decorate their carts, purchase 50 pounds of canned food, and race to a pre-ordained list of bars to perform challenges and mingle with their fellow racers.
Last weekend marked the sixth annual running of the race, and as co-organizer Diane Back told Huffington Post Chicago, it was the largest and most successful to date. Around 140 five-person teams came out on a sub-freezing, snowy morning, having raised over $14,000 and around 10,000 pounds of canned food for the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.
"We've never seen so much fundraising before," Back said. "It totally blew us away."
A group of Chiditarod volunteers begin meeting in December to plan the race. On the day of the event this year, over 200 volunteers turned out to help keep things (and racers) running smoothly. "It’s incredible the number of people who come out and help," said Back.
Almost as incredible as the number of people who come out and race. Take a look at a sampling of the creative, crazy costumes and cart decorations that were on display this weekend, and vote for your favorites. For more, check out the Chiditarod Flickr pool.
All photos courtesy of Kirstie Shanley.