Inflatable dinosaurs race to the finish line at Englewood Beach Waterfest

Writer: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

It’s that time of the year again: the 2023 Englewood Beach Waterfest is on, but this year one event is going back to prehistoric times.

The Carnivore Cup revved up Friday morning on Englewood Beach, where people of all ages dressed up as dinosaurs and lined up for a 100-yard dash at Chadwick Park.

More than 40 dinosaurs signed up, all ready to go.

It was an all-out beach race as competitors with tiny arms roared their engines to the finish line.

The winner was given $1,000 cash on the spot.

Eddie Smith, President of Offshore Powerboat Association Racing told WINK News where the idea originated.

“My wife’s a little crazy in the head and started this whole thing with the dinosaur racing to get the community involved in what we’re doing with the racing,” he said, “so we kind of put it out there as a joke, and we had six or seven people sign up.”

“Dinosaurs” and Emma await starting horn. Credit: WINK News

You can imagine Smith was surprised by the turnout.

The worry today was that some of the racers were going to break their dino bones. They were falling left and right, tripping over tails and all.

T-Rex Quinton Quirrenbach and Nathan Hunt came in first and second place as they roared to the finish line in a mere 30 seconds.

“I mean, the fog and that you can agree with me, it’s hard to see out of there,” said Quirrenbach about the weather that morning.

“I was running then I saw the person next to me trip, and then I just kept going straight,” said Hunt.

WINK News anchor Emma Heaton even threw on a dino costume herself and did a non-official race afterward.

Emma prepares for her race. Credit: WINK News

This event is new to Englewood’s annual Waterfest.

The Waterfest started the Thursday and runs through Sunday, Nov. 19 at various locations in Englewood. 

Happening Friday night is the Waterfest Block Party, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Admission is free and people from anywhere can come get an up-close look at race boats along Dearborn Street after a Race Boat Parade through downtown Englewood.

There will be live music and merchandise vendors offering tons of options.

A portion of the street will be closed off.

Saturday and Sunday from, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors and locals can come out for speed and thrills.

Offshore powerboat racing will happen on Englewood Beach, as boats gather for the world championship races.

This is the World Championships for OPA Racing with more than 75 boats running at high speeds.

The gates open at 9 a.m., and tickets are available on-site.

Jill Hemmes, the owner of Waverly Restaurant and Bar appreciates the business the event draws in.

“It just brings so much energy and so much spunk,” said Hemmes, “and then of course, the restaurants are busy. Everybody’s happy to see the races meet the race teams. Everybody’s so positive. It’s just a fun, fun event.”

In terms of closures, Englewood Beach and Chadwick Park have been closed since Tuesday and will be through Monday for the Waterfest.

Smith said he wants the Carnivore Cup to happen again next year with an even bigger turnout.

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