Every so often, a group of weirdos descends into the green, viscous waters of the Gowanus Canal, not because there aren't cleaner waterways around, but because the risk of contracting a new local strain of Ebola from its poo-scented depths is just so tempting. This weekend, those weirdos will assemble into teams for the annual Gowanus Challenge, in which participants not only sail through the sludge, but race in the unmotorized watercraft of their choice.
The contaminated competition will be held on Saturday (same day as the Smallest Penis in Brooklyn contest!) and is open to boathouses and strong-stomached individuals in possession of a canoe or vaguely canoe-like object and the recommended $500 "entry pledge." Brooklyn Based reports that 26 teams have signed up to navigate the 2.5-mile course, which starts at 11 a.m. and runs from the Gowanus Dredger's boathouse on 2nd Street, up to 9th Street and back down. Onlookers and disgusted passersby can watch from the bridges at 9th and 3rd streets, and nearby residents can hope all the activity won't dredge up a property value-lowering stench.
Afterwards, an awards banquet will feature speciality "Artisinal Superfund Pizzas" that hopefully contain no local ingredients, with a reasonable dress code described as “no shirt, no shoes, no problem - no pants, slight problem." Winners will receive a "mystery prize," and runner-ups will receive $400 in gift certificates to Brooklyn Crab and Dinosaur BBQ, assuming they ever feel like eating again. Everyone will receive Giardia!
If you have the time, money and desire to grow a new neck eyebrow after the water splashes you, registration is still open—just email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd recommend duct taping your orifices shut prior to race time, or layering at least six Hazmat suits. Plan to remove your skin and wash thoroughly upon completion—or maybe just burn it and start over.