Longville Turtle Races – Longville, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

Longville Turtle Races

Longville, Minnesota

Summer in the "Turtle Racing Capital of the World" means rousing weekly reptile races. 


Every Wednesday afternoon in the summer, families vacationing near Longville, Minnesota, descend upon the town for a chance to race turtles in the Turtle Racing Capital of the World (as declared by the Minnesota Legislature in 1989).

It all begins when the turtle mobile rolls into town around noon. With the help of a couple dozen volunteers, the main road through town is shut down and a mini fair is set up in its space.

At promptly 1:45 p.m., the races begin. $3 will get you a turtle to compete with. The reptiles are raced in heats, with about a dozen participating in each round. Special turtle racing music is played to signify go-time.

The zippiest turtle—that is, the one that happens to wander from the center of the marked circle to the outer ring the fastest—is awarded a green ribbon and gets to compete in the championship round. If you happen to get a dud, your slowpoke turtle will be given a second chance to race against other lazy entries during the special “Slowpoke Heat.”

The turtle races have been going on for over 50 years now. In 1967, saloon owner Russ Nyvall noticed there wasn’t much for kids to do in the sleepy town of Longville, so he came up with the idea. In the early days, it was a simple event during which turtles were raced for an hour or two. Nowadays, the event has an official announcer, a large stage, carnival games, and about a dozen vendors selling food and crafts.

Know Before You Go

Held on 1st Street North, steps away from where it intersects with Highway 84.

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