The Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2017

Over the weekend I experienced an event here in Portland that was super fun and definitely super funky: The Portland Adult Soapbox Derby.  Until Saturday, my knowledge of soapbox derby races was limited to The Little Rascals movie, when Alfalfa wins the race literally by the spike of his hair and the gang is awarded the money they need to re-build their “He-Man Woman Hater’s Club” clubhouse by a fictional race car driver played by Reba McEntire. I had no idea that soapbox derbies existed in the real world, let alone in Portland, and consisted of 40+ teams of serious adult competitors.

Portland Soapbox Derby 2017: Aaron Foster (Left) and Driver John Becker (Right)

Portland Soapbox Derby 2017: Aaron Foster (Left) and Driver John Becker (Right)

When I woke up Saturday morning, I had plans to grab a “magic eraser” and scrub every inch of my house – it was looking like it would be a very productive, but far from fun day. That is until I heard a knock at my front door… Standing in front of me and my grungiest house cleaning outfit was a dear friend who just so happens to be a faithful derby lover and homegrown Portlander. I couldn’t resist her charm and how passionate she was about the day’s festivities, so I tossed on my Everyday Clutch as a backpack and followed her out the door.

On our way there I wanted to learn a little more so I pulled out my phone and consulted my very informative and good friend, Google. From the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby website, I learned that this has been an annual event since 1997, taking place on the third Saturday of August, and held at the top of Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. Awards are given not just for the fastest car, but also for engineering, art, and overall crowd pleasing ability, just to name a few.

As a first time attendee, I have to say that the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby was a blast! It definitely keeps Portland weird with its unique vehicles and gutsy drivers. The cars themselves were quite a spectacle – there were fast sleek cars, a big Cheetos car, a robot car, and a Blazers themed car, you name it and somebody probably turned it into a car. There was even a band of drummers, which my friend and I marched behind with gusto and lots of laughs. They had some small food carts to buy snacks and beer from, but not a huge selection so I would recommend packing some snacks and beverages of your own and definitely bring a blanket to sit on.

If you are thinking about attending next year, do it! I’ll see you at the starting line.