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Soap Box Derby coming to Historic District

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Registration: 8 a.m.

Races: 10 a.m.

Oct. 13-14

Folsom Historic District

Contact: Chris Harris – 408-858-3310; siliconvalley@soapboxderby.org

For the first time, Folsom will be hosting a Soap Box Derby in the Historic District, and it’s a must-see event.

Organized by Karen Holmes and Mike McKernan, the idea of having a derby in Folsom has been in the back of Holmes' mind for years, she said.

“Every once in a while, it would come out of my mouth, but there hasn’t been any ability to follow through or do anything about until last year,” Holmes said. “I was having a party at my house and I was speaking to my long-time friend, Mike. I said something about a soap box derby and he said, ‘That’s funny, I used to race when I was a kid.’ I said, ‘Really? Want to help me with one?’ He said yes and has been just a brilliant co-chair.”

McKernan reached out to the American Soap Box Derby Association in Akron, Ohio, and they gave him leads to contact the nearest derby chapter in Silicon Valley.

“We contacted the chapter and they said they would help us,” Holmes said.

Since then, the planning has been in full speed.

On Oct. 7, participants in the derby will be fitted to their own cars, Holmes said.

“The key thing is the cars can be provided to every kid who wants to race, we just need to know exactly how many,” she said. “Another really cool thing about this is sponsors of this event will get Folsom stickers on a car. These cars are going to go on to compete in other derbies in other towns, with the same Folsom logos. I’m really looking forward to showing off Folsom on these cars."

Oct. 13 and 14 is the big event and will be two full days of racing with three divisions and two races for each participant. The start line will begin on the west side of Wool Street in front of Dorothea’s Shoppe, with the finish line in front of Central Valley Community Bank. The run out will end at Reading Street. After racers finish their first race, their cars will be trucked to the top of the starting line to have their wheels rotated for the second heat, Holmes said.

The three divisions include stock cars for ages 7-to-14; superstock cars for ages 9-18; and masters for ages 10-20. Holmes said it really depends on the child’s size, as each car is built to spec.

While there are many aspects of this event that is unique, one is that nearly half the entries in the derby are kids from Folsom and surrounding communities, Holmes said. The rest of the participants will be from around the region – Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Southern California, as well as one family from Ohio.

“One thing that will be fun for the Silicon Valley Chapter is the location – right here in Historic Folsom,” Holmes said. “They told me they usually put the derbies on in abandoned air fields, so this will be fun for all of the families. There is a hotel right here; there’s food to eat; siblings and other people who aren’t racing, they have so much stuff they can do around here. It’s really cool.”

Holmes said she is really looking forward to seeing the streets lined with spectators cheering on the kids.

“I picture the street lined with families waiving little flags and cheering, standing with ice cream from Snooks and just having a good time,” she said. “Folsom is a really sporty community, so I’m also looking forward to introducing a new sport to the community, as well as helping new friendships blossom between the kids.”