Clayton revs up for Labor Day Derby

By Peggy Spear on August 26, 2013

Derby-Keeler_for websiteGentlemen – and ladies – start your engines. Er, feet.

The 10th annual Great Labor Day Derby and Car Show will roar through downtown Clayton this Saturday, Aug. 31.

Children ages 7 to 14 can drive soap box derby cars to race down a ramp along Main Street for a chance to win a trophy. More than 250 racers are expected take the challenge, cheered on by a crowd of more than 1,500 excited family and friends in what has become one of Clayton’s most popular family events.

The kids start on the ramp at east end of Main Street, and gravity propels the cars down the race course. The street is lined with bales of hay, and comes in handy when a driver veers off course, sometimes with many tears and lots of frustration.

The derby runs concurrently with the Classic Car Show. More than 300 cars will be shown and judged for Custom Design, Restored, Retros, Foreign, Muscle and Rods, from vintage 1900s to 2013. The Car Show is free to enter and tee-shirts and goody bags will be given to the first 300 entrants.

This annual Labor Day weekend event is presented by Clayton Community Church and began as the brainchild of Pastor Shawn Robinson after experiencing a similar event in Southern California.

“It’s great fun,” says event co-organizer Peggy Bidondo. “It’s so great to see the car designs, and how excited the kids get when they’re racing.”

The cars are standard Soap Box Derby cars, and are sponsored by local businesses and organizations. Every child is given a helmet to wear, as well as driving lessons before taking off, Bidondo says.

There will also be jump houses, face painting, music, games and refreshments. More than 60 volunteers will also be on hand to make sure the event runs smoothly, Bidondo says.

The first race takes off at 9 a.m. For more information contact Mike Fossan at or Peggy Bidondo at

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