Photos by Dave Felice
                                Langley resident Michaleen McGarry works on a Soup Box Derby car she is building with her husband Brian Dunnington, along with Robin Black and her husband Tim Callison. This is an ambitious 6-wheel, 4-seat vehicle with a Dr. Seuss theme.

Photos by Dave Felice Langley resident Michaleen McGarry works on a Soup Box Derby car she is building with her husband Brian Dunnington, along with Robin Black and her husband Tim Callison. This is an ambitious 6-wheel, 4-seat vehicle with a Dr. Seuss theme.

Annual Soup Box Derby is Sunday

Langley’s annual Soup Box Derby is, literally, a free-wheeling celebration of creativity and zaniness. Aside from wheeled vehicles powered by gravity, Soup Box has little in common with its distant cousin, the standardized and competitive Soap Box Derby racers.

Held annually for 46 years, the Soup Box Derby on First Street features what organizers call “some of the wackiest and speediest” conveyances with wheels that can go down a hill. “Racers” register at 8 a.m. this Sunday at the U.S. Bank parking lot at First and Anthes. The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon, down the hill on First at Park Avenue. Everyone is welcome, and there is no admission fee.

“The derby was first run in 1972 by employees of the long-closed Soup Coop, along with other community members,” says John Lawson, secretary of the Langley Community Club.

“The unconventional name of this favorite community event matches the unconventional vehicles and drivers. The Soup Box Derby has only one purpose, fun and entertainment for participants and spectators. Every participant gets a handmade trophy.”

Soup Box Derby is presented by the Community Club and the Langley Main Street Association. Lawson says about 50 to 60 business sponsors pay for the event. The derby generates about $5,000 to benefit South Whidbey civic activities, such as Good Cheer, the School Garden Project and Generation Park in Langley. Years ago, Lawson says, derby proceeds paid for the first computer in the Langley Police Department.

“The Soup Box Derby vehicles are pushed up the hill and propelled strictly by gravity going down. There’s no starting ramp and push starting isn’t allowed,” Lawson explains. “The vehicles must have steering and brakes, but otherwise everything is left to the imagination of the builders. Helmets and shoes are required for drivers.”

Lawson reminds spectators to stay off the straw bales on the course. The bales are only for the protection of the drivers and those watching.

Lawson emphasizes the event is not about speed or performance.

“However, preliminary heat winners are paired for final ‘races’ where ‘grudge matches’ are the norm,” he says, “and bragging rights become important. But in the end, it’s all about having fun.”

Those building and driving the vehicles are strongly encouraged to use their ingenuity, creativity, and perhaps a little Langley weirdness in construction and operation of the derby cars in what has been described as the wildest race on the island.

More in News

ALERT aims to help residents prepare

Disaster preparedness may not be anyone’s idea of a good time, but… Continue reading

Harvest Feast feeds 600 families

Students and families celebrate an early Thanksgiving

Scammers using ballot signature issue in ruse

Voters who had an issue with the signature on their ballots should… Continue reading

Board to decide trail proposals

Commissioners with South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District are expected to make… Continue reading

Hospital suffers budget blow

WhidbeyHealth suffered an unplanned budget hit this year, making September “not such… Continue reading

Mobile Turkey Unit firing up

‘Nobody on this island needs to go without a meal on Thanksgiving

South Whidbey Jazz Ensemble shines at UW invitational

The South Whidbey High School Jazz Ensemble had great success at the… Continue reading

Fundraiser helping homeless is Nov. 18

The Whidbey Homeless Coalition is in the midst of one of its… Continue reading

Man accused of making threat at ‘drug house’

An assault was reported at a Clinton house that was the site… Continue reading

Most Read