Galveston Historical Foundation
Dickens Victorian Bed Race

Victorian Bed Races

Fortune and glory await one lucky team at the 2023 Dickens on The Strand! The annual Victorian bed race, held Sunday, December 3, 2023, at 4:30 p.m., is always a crowd favorite and pits 5-person teams against each other for a footrace down Galveston’s historic streets. Awards will be given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams, as well as a special crowd favorite award for the best-decorated bed.


  • Bed race teams consist of 5 members…1 rider and 4 pushers. A rider must remain in the bed at all times. All members of the team must be at least 18 years old. No exceptions.
  • The rider must dress in a nightcap & nightgown/nightshirt. Pushers must dress in costumes. Pushers are encouraged to “decorate” themselves in their chosen theme, which should reflect the festival, holidays, or Dickens characters.
  • All entries above are to participate in the 2 p.m. Queen’s Parade on Sunday to tout their beds and teams! The teams and their beds are asked to be at the parade line-up at 20th and Strand by 1:30 p.m. to participate in the parade.
  • Teams will begin at 21st and Strand Street and race westward to the intersection of 22nd and Strand. In the intersection, teams come to a complete stop within the marked area. The rider will exit the bed and join the team in one lap around the bed, every team member circling the bed once. Then one of the pushers will don the nightcap and gown, without assistance, and change places with the previous rider, who becomes a pusher. Once the new rider is on the bed, the team continues to the finish line at 23rd and Strand. The entire distance is approximately 700 linear feet.
  • Beds are to be decorated and themed after Victorian Christmas for judging and races. All decorations must be left on the bed unless judges rule that they must be removed for safety reasons.
  • Your safety is important to us. Please wear good running shoes. Accidents may occur, such as falls, scrapes, bruises, tripping, collisions, etc. Safety gear to avoid such hazards is strongly recommended.
  • Beds will need to be delivered to the festival grounds by 9 a. m. on Saturday, December 3. Judges will inspect the beds beginning at 9:15 a.m. to determine if all specifications and guidelines have been followed. Judges will also determine, at this time, if any of the decorations on the beds will need to be removed for safety reasons. If the judges deem any of the regulations have not been followed, teams will have until 5 p.m. on Saturday to make corrections. Judges will inspect those beds again, and if by their decision any beds are not in compliance, the entry will be eliminated from the competition. Any decorations deemed unsafe will need to be removed before race time on Sunday. All judge’s rulings are FINAL. GHF and the race judges reserve the right to disqualify any beds or teams, at any time, for rule or guideline violations.
  • Teams will race independently of each other, with the fastest total time winning.
  • Awards will be given for crowd favorite (most money collected for donation to GHF), and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Bed Specifications

  • Ground clearance – Minimum 10”, Maximum 15”
  • Overall bed height – Min. 36”, max 96”
  • Overall bed length – Min. 72”, max 96”
  • Overall bed width – Min. 48”, max. 72”
  • Beds must have an inner-spring mattress that is 6” thick or thicker. The mattress top must not exceed 36” from the ground.
  • Push bars are allowed but may not extend beyond the maximum dimensions stated above. All push bars are to be designed for safety with no sharp or jagged edges.
  • Beds must have four wheels, no more or less, and they should be load-bearing, and all must make contact with the ground. Wheel size should be at least 8” and no more than 21”. Front wheels need to pivot, and rear wheels are to be fixed.
  • Steering mechanisms or brake systems of any kind may not be used. All means of motion are limited to race team members.
  • The bed itself does not need to be an original bed, but it must mimic an antique bed with head and footboards.
  • Beds must be constructed to ensure safe operation and safety of team members, other competitors, and spectators. Beds must also be constructed in such a manner as to allow for full visibility by the “pushers.”
  • Beds may only be pushed from the back and/or sides. No pulling is allowed.
  • Beds must have visible signage displaying their team name and/or theme name.


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