Longville’s iconic Turtle Races have been enjoyed by children of all ages for the last 50 years. Back in the mid-60s Russ Nyvall started the races to provide some special summer entertainment for residents and visitors.
Every Wednesday afternoon from June through late August, swimming beaches go strangely quiet; cabins, motels, cottages and resorts empty out; and streams of cars descend on the little town of Longville to race turtles.
Today, the turtle mobile rumbles into town at about noon each Wednesday. Promptly at 12:30 nearly 25 volunteers magically appear and unload the turtle mobile, close off main street, and transform the town into a mini-county fair.
See you in 2020! Join us Wednesdays, June 3 to August 19!
Registration: 1:00 pm
Contests: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Games: 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Resort Turtle Race: 2:00 pm
Turtle Races: 2:05 – 3:30 pm
Turtle Ring Toss
Fishin’ For Fun
Turtles On the Fence
Turtle Bola Toss
Wiffle Ball Roll
Bag the Turtle
Hula Hoop Contest
Macarena Dance Contest
Chicken Dance Contest
‘YMCA’ Dance Contest
Turtle Race Results – Turtle Race Archives
All games, contests and races are held in the center of town on main street.
For a $3 fee, race participants receive a turtle race button and a numbered sticker. When your race heat is called, turtle vendors bring out turtles from which you can select the turtle you’re going to race.
At about 1 p.m. after everything has been set-up, the games and contests begin. This includes the YMCA dance, chicken dance and hula-hoop contest, to name a few. Promptly at 2 p.m. the turtle races begin.
The first race of the day is the “Chamber Resort Turtle Race.” This race is for Chamber member lodging establishments who wish to send a participant for the resort race. To participate in this race, you get a resort race ticket from your resort prior to coming to the races and present it at the registration table. If your resort or lodging establishment is not a Chamber member, you still have the great opportunity to race in the regular turtle races for the grand prizes.
The regular turtle races start right after the resort race. Run in heats of ten, twelve, or fifteen turtles, the turtle racers then gather in the center circle. Turtle vendors bring out the turtles selected to race in that heat. At the moment that the announcer yells “go” and special turtle race music begins, the racers release their turtles. Instinctively, the turtles head out from the inner circle across the pavement to cross the outer circle. The fastest turtle to cross the outer circle wins a green ribbon, a special prize coupon and an opportunity to race again for big prizes in the championship round. The turtle that, for some unknown reason, chooses not to head out of the inner circle and that ends up closest to the letter “A in the word “Start” is declared the heat’s “slow poke.” This race participant wins a white ribbon, a special prize coupon and a chance to race again in the slow poke championship round. The victors from the championship rounds are awarded a plethora of prizes provided by Chamber member merchants.
Come to Longville for a great afternoon of family fun!
– David and Mandy