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Annual soap box derby event set for June 22 in Valparaiso

Children show off their soapbox derby cars before a race in Valparaiso.

VALPARAISO — It's never too soon to be thinking about warmer weather and outdoor activities. The annual Soapbox derby in downtown Valparaiso is a few months away, but plans are already underway for the 73rd year of this event.

The event will be held June 22 on Lincolnway, between Garfield and Morgan streets.

Mallory Cook, secretary of the race committee, said the amount of people participating in it has been steady over the years.

In this event boys and girls compete against each other in cars that they can make from a kit.

"The kits give you a manual and a plan book to set up the car and it tells you how much weight is allowed in the car," Cook said. "It is gravity driven and you put them on a ramp. The Valparaiso race allows races from ages 7 to 20 but the common age is 8 to 12.

The winners of the event go to Akron in July to compete.

Cook said boys and girls compete against each other and feels the kids do it because it is fun.

"You don't have to be super athletic to be doing this," she said. "And I think the kids have a lot of fun and it hits a wide range of children.

Last year there were about 30 kids in the race.

Children must be registered by May 31. There will be an open meeting at 7 p.m. march 19 at American Legion Post 94. There will also be car clinics so that the children can learn how to assemble the cars. There is a fee to enter, but children can get sponsorships and the American Legion has a few cars that can be borrowed.

The clinics will be from 9 a.m. to noon April 13 and 9 a.m. to noon May 4 at the Old Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso. There will be practices as well, from 9 a.m. to noon May 11 and May 18 at Old Fairgrounds Park.

If interested, attend the March 19 meeting at the legion, 4 Monroe St.

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Community Coordinator

Annette is Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for two decades. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.