The Soapbox Derby made its grand, colorful return to McLaren Park in San Francisco on Sunday with thrills, hills, and spills.
Thousands turned out to see 57 art cars, none of them equipped with engines or motors, hurl (and occasionally crawl) precariously downhill. The races took place on John F. Shelly Drive, an under-maintained asphalt obstacle of a street, complete with potholes, cracks, and—presenting a source of sometimes slapstick comedy for the crowd—a speed bump.
This was not your ordinary Indy 500-style race. Among the Soapbox Derby categories ranked by the judges: “Slowest,” “Best of the Worst” and “Most Graceful Wipeout.”
KGO news anchor Kumasi Aaron and KQED’s own Pendarvis Harshaw, host of Rightnowish, served as race announcers, giving color to every rattling mishap over the “cheese grater” portion of the track. Judges included musician La Doña; Dorcas Moulton, who created the famed “bread car” as part of the original Soapbox Derby; drag queen and educator Per Sia; and USC professor Amanda Pope.
KQED’s Beth LaBerge was there to capture the scene. See the Soapbox Derby’s colorful, creative cars, and the action that ensued, in her photos below.