Porta-Potty, Johnny-on-the-Spot, Outhouse, Portable toilet. Whatever you call them, they all have one thing in common: they stay put once you set them up. They don’t go anywhere. Unless you are in Independence, VA, on the second Sunday in October, when you will see outhouses running down the main street.
The running outhouses are part of the Grand Privy Race and are a featured event at the Mountain Foliage Festival in Independence, VA. Independence is in Southwestern Virginia, just above the North Carolina state line. Charities and organizations build or borrow an outhouse each year to compete for cash prizes. The double-elimination race begins at 11 AM, and teams run every 20 minutes. The privies can be pushed and pulled but not motorized. Each racing team has two people in front, two in back, and one “in the hole.” Each team must perform a “fire drill” maneuver in which the person in the outhouse must switch places with one of the other team members. The most highly contested race each year is between the Democratic and Republican clubs. It is unclear whether the political party with the least B.S. wins the race.
Potty Princess and Toilet Paper Toss
Contestants can also compete in the Toilet Paper Toss, and the “purdy gurls” and cross-dressing guys can vie for the title of Potty Princess. The “beauty contest” is a spoof of traditional beauty contests.
The Grand Privy Race has been run every year since 1980. In addition to the race, the festival features arts, crafts, bluegrass music, food vendors, and activities for the kids.
Of course, the real draw in the mountains in October is the foliage. Independence is near Mt. Rogers (the highest peak in the Blue Ridge) and the New River Trail State Park. Just above Independence sits Point Lookout Mountain, where a panoramic view of the fall foliage can be enjoyed.