Soap Box Derby

Every August in Portland, the Soap Box Derby takes place on Mount Tabor. Mount Tabor is a very cool, humongous park overlooking the whole city and if you’re ever in Oregon, it’s worth a visit. There are tons of trails to explore and a beautiful view at night. I’ve been going to the Soap Box Derby for years. The only year I missed was last year because Michael and I were kinda busy biking 72 miles.

The soap boxes start at the top of Mount Tabor and speed dangerously down the curved road, taking tricky corners to loop around the reservoir to the finish line. The costumes and set ups are different every year. A few years back, there was one that is still my favorite: their soap box was a platform on a wheels with a half cubicle wall, a desk and computer set up a la the movie “Office Space.” It was hilarious!

Thousands of people flock to Mount Tabor to picnic and hang out for the four hours it goes on. This year I met up with some of my friends who also go every year. It was fun to hang out with them and it’s also the one time a year that alcohol is allowed in a public park. 🙂 So you can imagine it can get loud and rowdy! But everyone is respectful and there’s never been any issues. You can watch a fun video here complete with in-vehicle cameras!

This is one of my favorite Portland things and I wanted to share a few of the photos with you guys.


The amount of work that goes into these things is impressive! I wonder if it takes them all year long to build them and test them? It’s always a bummer when the ones that crash get eliminated…all that hard work down the drain. I loved the plane (above) but my favorite one of this year was the Fear & Loathing one:

I mean talk about creativity!! I loved this one! And it made me want to reread the book. 🙂 The other good one was the beauty parlor:

The star of the show was by far the guy in charge of keeping people off the track when the races started. He worked some magic with that mega-phone and had everyone cracking up. He called people out and teased them, told jokes.

It was funny and I hope he’s there next year!

Have I convinced you guys to come visit Portland yet?? Between the Soap Box Derby, the hiking, the street fairs, the brewfest, snowshoeing and the good food, I must have changed some minds out there…I’m a good tour guide!! 🙂

I think the guy with the beard in the above photo is an old friend of mine named Tiny but I didn’t see him after the races to say hi. I hope you guys enjoyed the photos!

QUESTION: Have you ever built or driven a soap box car? Do you have anything like this derby in your town?

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