This fall, a quiet street in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood will transform into a raceway, complete with creatively themed soapbox race cars on pit row, live music, food, drinks and more – all for a great cause. In a community known for its arts events and the nation’s largest book festival, the Madison Ave Soapbox Derby stands out as Decatur’s only community-led spectator sporting event.
Registration is now open for the 2017 Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby, to be held Saturday, October 7. The non-motorized racing event challenges amateur racers to design and build human-powered soapbox cars and compete against the clock in a downhill race. Competitors are divided into age groups with awards given out for fastest times and most creative car themes.
Prior to race day, Derby organizers will offer technical guidance to help with design plans and methods for building the cars. For details on competing in the derby, volunteering, making a donation or signing on as an event sponsor, visit madisonavesoapboxderby.org.
Started in 2011 by a group of fun-loving, beer-drinking neighbors, the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby has raised more than $100,000 for local charities serving children. The 2016 event drew an estimated 1,000 attendees and featured nearly 100 racers.
“The Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby brings out the community spirit that makes Decatur so special,” said Raul Trujillo, a founding member of the Derby and Madison Avenue resident since 1999. “We are fortunate to have strong support from the City of Decatur, local businesses, and countless volunteers, all united around helping youth in our community.”
Proceeds from this year’s derby will go to Decatur Robotics, inspiring young people from all backgrounds to become science and technology innovators. Since it began in 2008, Decatur Robotics has engaged more than 400 local students through projects and competitions.
“We’re excited to expose more Decatur students closer to this science and technology fields,” said June Torrance, Decatur Robotics president. “This program goes beyond just robotics to build self-esteem and project management skills, and open doors for children who might not otherwise have opportunities to get involved.”
This family-friendly event is free for spectators and open to the public. Presenting sponsors for the 2017 Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby are Universal Joint and Oakhurst Market. Other sponsors include Intown Auto Care, MailChimp and Pinnacle Credit Union. Follow the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby on Facebook and Twitter.