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Photo of a clown in the Milk Carton Derby
Clowning around in the Milk Carton Derby. The Seafair clowns have been a lively part of the event since the 1950s

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Seafair
A Local Legacy

There are lots of things you can make with empty milk cartons, but would you ever think to make them into a boat? That's exactly what the clown in the photo is riding on!

If you come to Seattle's annual Seafair, you will probably see this clown in the Milk Carton Derby. Seafair is a 10-day celebration of Washington state's Puget Sound, a 100-mile-long inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Since 1950, Seafair has sponsored a number of different activities, including parades, high-dive acts, comedy skits, and the Milk Carton Derby.

The Milk Carton Derby is a lot of fun! Both kids and adults put their imaginations to work and build milk carton boats to compete in five race categories. Almost any design is acceptable, so long as milk cartons are the primary means of flotation. A half-gallon carton will float about four pounds of weight, so for every 100 pounds of weight on your vessel, you will need 25 half-gallon milk cartons. A minimum of 50 milk cartons is required for each boat and motors are not allowed.

So whoever wants to enter the race will have to drink lots of milk!

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