Follow the Sun, as the American Solar Challenge Rolls Through the Cuyahoga Valley


Fri 7/29 @noon-7PM

Sat 7/30 @7AM-9PM

Remember when we all were told that in the future we’d have bubble-shaped cars that would fly around and stuff (when the personal jetpack just wasn’t good for hauling groceries?). Well, that and many other optimistic predictions for the year 2000 kind of fell apart. But one can come a bit close to the idea of a technological utopia at the American Solar Challenge.

This is a cross-country marathon race of some 1,600 miles, open to college-student teams driving solar-powered automobiles — strange, lightweight contraptions which indeed tend to have bubble tops (the rest festooned with solar arrays). This year it was decided to have the cars actually leave from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in the Greater Cleveland area and finish at Wind Case, South Dakota. More job opportunities there, we guess (no, actually the solar cars are marking milestones at various National Parks en route as a sort of green-eco cross-promotional deal).

On Friday the amazing cars will be on display at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (not exactly in the park; hence easily accessible via freeway for you gas-powered drivers), twinned with a sort of sustainability fair/expo at the CVCC. On Saturday morning well-wishers can bid their favorite racers good luck as the cars depart from the starting line.

Admission is free, just like sunlight.

[Written by Charles Cassady]

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