Soapbox Derby brings races, music, kids activities to Magnolia Street on Saturday

April 11, 2014 

soapbox_derby

Al Irwin drives the Majestic Stone entry in last year’s Soapbox Derby on Magnolia Street in Macon. Instead of being paired with a Second Sunday concert, this year the Soapbox Derby will be on its own on Saturday.

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The hill along Magnolia Street will play host to a weekend of downtown activities when the Soapbox Derby returns as a stand-alone event and Second Sunday kicks off a new season of free concerts.

The Soapbox Derby will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday with derby cars racing down Magnolia Street and music, food and kids’ activities in the street and neighboring Washington Park. This will mark the first time the derby has not been held in conjunction with a Second Sunday concert.

“This event has grown from four soapbox entries to now an average of 20 cars going down the hill,” said Jessica Walden, director of communications for the College Hill Alliance, which runs Second Sunday. “With everything we do in the College Hill Corridor, the plan has always been to make sure the programs can sustain themselves. The Soapbox Derby has probably been one of the most outstanding examples of quickly creating a volunteer base that is now fully supporting the event, organizing it, planning it. ... It really did deserve its own day.”

Angel Collins, who is on the Soapbox marketing committee, said the InTown Macon Neighborhood Association has organized the event for the past few years and is running the event on its own this year.

“It’s kind of a symbolic break but it’s also a time break as well,” she said. “Trying to race 30 cars down the hill before Second Sunday started was a little hard.”

InTown is expecting as many as 40 cars for this year’s race, she said. Cars will be racing in two categories: “shade tree” for those who just want to participate and have fun and “professional” for the groups that are a little more serious.

“We want to give people who build their cars themselves and who are not professionals ... an opportunity to win as well as the people who have their cars professionally designed and made for the race,” Collins said.

All of the cars will take a test run down Magnolia to check brakes and mechanics before the final, timed event begins at 1 p.m. Between the runs, kids ages 5 to 8 can participate in their own race.

“The cutest thing ever is the Big Wheel Race,” Collins said. “There are also going to be T-shirts for the kids who participate.”

The Soapbox Derby also includes arts and crafts activities for kids, music from the sunDollars, a performance from the Streetline Drum Corps and DJ Shawty Slim on the mic. There also will be food truck vendors.

“Some of the (food trucks) people may have missed out on with the Cherry Blossom Festival will be there as well,” Collins said.

The Saturday derby will serve as a lead-in to the new season of Second Sunday concerts. Seven Handle Circus will play the first show of the season from 6-8 p.m. Sunday in Washington Park. The six-member band’s instruments includes a mandolin, banjo and fiddle, but the sound is described as more of a bluegrass, rock band. In the event of rain, the concert will happen at Grant’s Lounge.

“All and all, it makes a really fun weekend in Macon, Georgia,” Walden said.

Soapbox Derby

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 12

Where: Washington Park, Magnolia Street, downtown Macon

Cost: Free

Information: www.maconderby.com

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