Sacramento Celebrates French Bastille Day with Waiters' Race

Sacramento Celebrates French Bastille Day with Waiters' Race

Sacramento, California will be celebrating Bastille Day, also known as French Independence Day, on Sunday, July 13 with a French waiters’ race. Fifty qualified participants will be exhibiting balance and agility as they dash around the block carrying trays bearing water-filled glasses.

The fastest waiter or waitress and winner of the Sacramento Bastille Day Waiters’ Race will receive $500, according to local Fox News affiliate in Sacramento FOX 40. Fast-paced walking, not running, is allowed. Seann Rooney, who organized the race, says it will begin at noon in Sacramento’s Handle District on L Street between 19th & 18th Streets. 

The length of the race will be approximately one half mile, or two laps around the block. The 50 trays will be have a bottle of water on them in addition to table glasses that will be approximately 3/4 full of water.

FOX 40 Anchor Paul Robins, who was a waiter back in the day, took part in a mock race of his own with last year’s runner-up, Roberto Rizo, and pointed out that a “Groucho” walk is a helpful tactic to employ during the race. The Groucho walk is an exaggerated walk in which both knees are bent to create greater balance in the upper portion of the body while gaining momentum in a forward pace. It was named after the late American comedian and film star Groucho Marx.

Rizo will be participating in this year’s race on Sunday as well. 

In addition to the $500 first place prize, a second place winner will receive $250, while the third place winner will get $100. A caveat of the race is that the trays must be dry, or at least as close to dry as the contestants can keep them, as water is more than likely to be spilled from the cups during the accelerated walk.

Interested participants can still apply to participate in the race by visiting

Bastille Day is called La Fête Nationale in France and commemorates the start of the French Revolution,, in which French nationals stormed the medieval Bastille fortress and prison on July 14th, 1789.