14th Annual Chiditarod Creates Positive Chaos At Fulton Market

Mike Krauser
March 02, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Mike Krauser/WBBM)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Today is the 14th running of the Chiditarod, an event very loosely based on the more famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska. 
In this case, the sleds are shopping carts and the dogs are people. 

The checkpoints are bars. And while there are rules, chaos is encouraged.   

At about 12:30 p.m., 500 costumed racers pushing 100 decorated shopping carts started the 14th rendition of the Chiditarod at Ashland and Fulton market. The event is a costumed shopping cart race, bar crawl, food drive, talent show and chaos generator, all wrapped into one, said co-founder Devin Breen. 

"Since inception we have collected 150,000 pounds of food and over $150,000 but we then give them out as grants to other nonprofits who are fighting hunger," Breen said. " My heart is completely overhwmeled with the good and the participation." 

He said 500 people took part racing 100 shopping carts. Teams of five racers collect at least 69 pounds of food. This year, one team collected 2,000 pounds of food and cash donations exceeded $65,000. They make costumes and the shopping carts are decorated in all kinds of themes.  

Breen initially cooked up this event with some friends as just something fun to do. The food drive part was thrown in so they wouldn't get arrested, he said.
More or less, that's absolutely correct, Breen said.

"We thought, 'Wow, racing shopping carts around the streets of Chicago sounds like a really good time but how do we do that and not go to jail.' And we thought, 'Wow, shopping carts, food — lets put food in the shopping carts,'" he said.

People waves flags that read 'Chiditarod' and had drums, costumes and loud chanting to get the crowd ready for the race. (Mike Krauser/WBBM)