Saturday, June 14, 2008

Soap Box Derby

I spent this morning checking out Fredericksburg's annual Soap Box Derby on William Street. The race was first run in the city in1948, and after fizzling out in the mid-1970's, it made a comeback in the 1990’s. Today the city's Soap Box Derby is the “largest local race in the world,” a title it has earned for the last 5 years.

When my kids were young, we always knew quite a few kids who were in the race, but even now I was surprised to recognize a couple of names, kids I hadn’t seen since they were babies, but who are all grown up now. Well, grown up enough to pilot a derby car, but small enough to still fit inside. I also like to cheer on the sponsoring businesses where I’m a regular customer (Yay, Cardinal Press! Go, Little Tire!). For race results, check out the information at the Free Lance-Star’s race website. Congrats to the winners!

At top is the start of the race, with the racers loaded onto the starting blocks, waiting for the race official to pull the handle to send them off down the hill. Below is the whole course, from the white tent at the top of the hill near College Ave., down to the finish line at Kenmore Ave. I have one question: where do these kids practice?

These cars have won their heats and are ready for their next run. It was very hot (seems it always is on derby day), so the towels are helping to keep the cars from getting too hot to handle.

Race officials swapping wheels between pairs of racers. Just one of the many fine points of the race.

The Turkey Hill people were there on this very hot day, giving out free cups of ice cream. I don't think I'll ever get enough of this giant red cow.

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