The Hopkins Turtle Derby

24 Photos

Every spring since 1931 (and now every May), turtles have ambled out from a starting gate and crawled to victory in the annual Johns Hopkins Turtle Derby.

A traditional prelude to the Preakness in Baltimore, the turtles, imports from U.S. turtle farms, to which they are subsequently returned, “race” to the cheering of neighborhood children, Hopkins faculty, staff, patients and their families, egged on by Johns Hopkins Medical School students in jockey silks.

The derby’s origins are traced back to Benjamin Frisby, a hospital caretaker and doorman who kept a small turtle pen outside the original hospital administration building. Soon, a racetrack was built and wagers were made, all in the name of building community among the medical residents.

The derby is organized and hosted by first year medical students and radiography students, with help from Child Life and the Office of Student Activities at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.– Source: Johns Hopkins