Kingston Artists’ Soapbox Derby ready to roll

In dark times, one must take one’s joy wherever it can be found; and this weekend, we’ll be able to find it in abundance in Kingston’s Rondout District. Not only are gorgeous antique boats converging on the waterfront once again, but the Artists’ Soapbox Derby will be back, and that’s always good news.

More a handmade parade-on-wheels than a race, the Derby was started in 1995 by gallery-owners George and Nancy Donskoj, and for a while it was an ever-growing annual event. But then the couple split up, and for a couple of years it didn’t go on at all.

But now, the Soapbox Derby has two fresh organizers in Sarah Bissonnette-Adler and Sarah Olivieri, who have set up a not-for-profit called Hudson Valley Community Productions. And as of this writing, the forecast for Sunday, August 20 is favorable for a spirited roll down lower Broadway: 82 degrees and mostly sunny. Local artists, preschools and maker spaces alike are reportedly hard at work on creating new kinetic sculptures to enter in the event.


“Tributes” is the annual themed award category for 2017, which should spark some imaginative entries. Other prizes include the Youth Award, People’s Choice and Rondout Reject, all to be handed out at T. R. Gallo Park following the running of the Derby. There will be live music and street vendors as well.

The fun begins at 10 a.m. this Sunday in the West Strand Historic District, with contestants set to roll from the starting line at the corner of Broadway and Spring Street at 12 noon. Early arrival will help ensure you a parking space within reasonable walking distance and a good vantagepoint for the Derby itself. It’s a free event and tons of fun. Check out and for more info.