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Spotting Smurfs, gorilla suits, Ghostbusters, and lots of children in Hampton Park usually means one of two things: it’s Halloween, or it’s the annual Charleston Bed Race. If your Smurf sighting happened last Sunday, you were privy to one of Charleston’s most innovative and exciting family-friendly affairs, benefiting Camp Happy Days.

Back for it’s second year, this year’s Bed Race offered twice as much marvelous mayhem. Outrageously decorated beds faced off in heats to move on to the final race, and this year’s track was a two-city-block up and back course, which allowed for some strategizing.

Bed designs ranged from a chicken pen to a fire engine and even a pirate ship, and one mobile mattress ferried a gorilla while blasting “Brass Monkey” by the Beastie Boys. Although a bed lost a wheel and another suffered a blow out, on the whole onlookers were able to breathe a sigh of relief, as this year’s beds were far more carefully constructed than their forefathers.

While the improved bed construction and a few new rules made for a more predictable race (sans flying wheels, airborne bits of mattress, and wayward headboards), the cleaner course inspired some devious race strategies, taking competitors by surprise and energizing the crowd. The US Coast Guard "Chiefs to the Rescue" bed ran interference against the The City of Charleston Palmetto Smurfs by pulling ahead and weaving wildly across the road, and spectators cheered the Chiefs across the finish line.

When not egging teams on, guests mingled in the Beer Garden or enjoyed a tasty treat from Taco Boy. People of all ages wandered the park and played with some of the many canine supporters roaming about the crowd. It was another successful afternoon of bedlam, benefiting a wonderful cause.

The Charleston Bed Race is an annual event which benefits Camp Happy Days, an organization that has been serving children diagnosed with cancer and their families in the Charleston area for over 28 years. Camp Happy Days is a year round program which supports South Carolina’s pediatric cancer patients by providing programs, special events emotional support and access to crisis resources.