Since its inception in 1995, the Kingston Artist Soap Box Derby has been one of the city’s most unusual—and most beloved—annual events. Each year, a lineup of local artists designs “non-motorized kinetic sculptures” and rolls them down Broadway in the Rondout District. Entries in the past have included a giant eyeball, a cart made entirely of sunflowers, a fully made bed, and a woman enjoying a bubble bath in a copper tub.
Despite its local popularity, the derby has met some recent challenges; it was cancelled in both 2011 and 2013. This year marks the event’s return after a two-year hiatus, and to make this derby the best yet organizers are appealing to fans to support an online campaign. Proceeds from the campaign will help pay for supplies and equipment rentals, t-shirts and trophies, and a outrageous prizes for the winners of the People’s Choice Award contest—an opportunity for derby-goers to vote on their favorite sculptures.
Uncle Willy’s Tavern and Kitchen, in uptown Kingston, will also be hosting a fundraising event on Sunday, July 13 from 4-8pm. In addition to offering a cash bar and menu of delicious pub fare, the evening will include opportunities to win gift certificates to local restaurants and attractions. Organizers are also raffling off one special, gas-powered bicycle that will be awarded at this year’s derby. Enjoy live music from Peter Head, the lead singer and guitarist of local band Pitchfork Militia.
The Kingston Soap Box Derby will return to the Kingston Waterfront on Sunday, August 24 at 1pm.