WEST TOWN — No, you aren't seeing things: there was a shopping cart race in Chicago Saturday that featured 700 people in bizarre costumes running around West Town. And they raised $30,000 for charity while they were at it.
Chiditarod celebrated its 10th year in Chicago Saturday with a shopping cart race slash pub crawl parade that benefited the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the CHIditarod Foundation. This year, 139 costume-clad teams raced to 11 bars with different activities for a chance to win prizes.
Before race day, the teams collect food and raise money for the event, which Diane Beck, Chiditarod event coordinator and board member, said was a success.
In September, Eric Anthony, 28, of Logan Square, started planning the idea for his team's Chiditarod cart.
"I drew a stick figure on a drum set," said Anthony, member of the Chubby Funkadelics. "Our cart has come a long way from the sketch," Anthony said, who has participated in the event for the last four years.
Anthony was among nearly 700 people in costumes on the streets of West Town Saturday, which brought in 27,000 pounds of food in addition to the cash.
"It's a food drive, pub crawl, race, costume party — awesomeness all rolled into one," Beck said.
Patti McGrath, of West Town, has been involved with the race since she saw the first one 10 years ago and decided to put a team together.
"It's for a good cause, and it's a lot of fun," said McGrath, who has taken part in the event for nine years. "I love the creative concepts and the costumes. It's all around good spirits."
This year McGrath and her team, 3GT&S 9th Edition, raised $2,000 and 100 pounds of food.
Nick McLeod, 28, echoed McGrath's enthusiasm.
"The whole atmosphere, charity, the artistry is an all around good time," McLeod said.
More than a hundred people gathered on the sidewalk to watch as teams rushed out the the gate near Hubbard Street and Wolcott Avenue.
Carol Wickersham, 59, of Wisconsin, was in town visiting friends and decided to stop by.
"We figured we'd come out and watch people in their costumes and carts, it looks like fun," Wickersham said.
Since the event started in 2006, the Chiditarod has raised more than $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food, Beck said.
Check out more photos from the event here. All photos by Mauricio Pena.
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