All systems are go for Saturday’s Soap Box Derby

The 2013 Williamsport Soap Box Derby will push off at 9 a.m. Saturday at full speed down the Market Street hill.

The 58 drivers, aged 7 to 17, will compete in a double-elimination tournament for two slots in the All-American Soap Box Derby finals in Akron, Ohio, in July, and for the right to hoist the Darwin Cooper Memorial Championship trophy, named in honor of Williamsport’s 1951 All-American Soap Box Derby national champion.

The cars will be on the hill by 7:30 a.m. Drivers and their crews will attend an 8 a.m. meeting in the pit area to go over final instructions.

At 8:30 a.m. the opening ceremonies will be held, with the singing of the national anthem and remarks from a few dignitaries in attendance.

From 9 a.m. on, it will be “race after race after race ’til it’s all done,” said Doris Poole, a member of the Soap Box Derby steering committee. “We don’t take a break – we race until we have a winner, which is usually about 4.”

Right now, the weather looks like it will cooperate on Saturday – the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny skies. If the skies should open up, the races will go on.

“We have tarps for each car,” Poole said. “It hopefully won’t be the hottest day of the year – our first year was the hottest day of the year, and it seems to have been hot every year.”

“Our newspaper has a long and special history with this race – the Sun-Gazette car won the national championship in 1951,” said Sun-Gazette publisher Bernard A. Oravec. “This event is great for the local community and our youth. It brings everyone together for a fun filled day outdoors.”

Other sponsors, who make the race accessible to all children by taking on the costs of building the soap box derby cars, include the Pennsylvania College of Technology, Woodlands Bank, The Hartman Group, Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships, Fairfield Auto Group, DeWald Chiropractic, Allison Crane and Rigging, Bastian Tire and Auto Centers, Brass Alignment, Inc., Dixon A.C.&R, Dolly’s Diner, Dunkin’ Donuts, the East Lycoming Shopper, FastSigns, the Genetti Hotel, Gentry Development, Glenn Hawbaker, Jersey Shore Bank, Kiwanis Club of Williamsport, L3 communications, John Sanso Concrete, LeFevre Wilk Architects, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Lundy Construction, M&T Bank, Master Contractors, McNerney, Page, Vanderlin and Hall, Miele Amusements, The Muncy Bank and Trust, Newberry Independent Club, Nible Family Eye Care, Newberry Lions Club, NuWeld, Overhead Door, ParenteBeard, RiverValley Transit, Schneider Valley Farms, Snyder’s Quality Sweet Corn and Sod, Sons of Italy Lodge 2786, The Stereo Shoppe and Wolynice Construction.

Market Street will be closed from Washington Boulevard south to just above Little League Boulevard from 5:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Parking is first-come, first-served, on the streets. The Williamsport Kiwanis Club will provide food for purchase.