Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Artists' Soapbox Derby, the memories

Last year was the first time the Daily Freeman livestreamed the Kingston Artists' Soapbox Derby, then in its 16 year. Inexperienced with such experiments at the time (I had just gotten the equipment), I forgot to record the event, in which more than 30 entries (which was low, actually) participated. The derby has been in the area for as long as I have, so it's always been in my memory as being part of the mid-Hudson Valley.

There were more than 1,000 visitors last year, despite the rain. The crowd had been eight times that much some years before when it was sunny, so sunny one year that Mayor Jim Sottile had to go around distributing water. In 2005, the Mayor's car ran over a stilt walker.

Good times.

Thankfully, las year, I also had my phone. And I took a whole bunch of photos.

Big Guy Media did the official video, in which George Donskoj announced that it was going to be the last year of the derby under the Donskoy umbrella. At the time, Nancy Donskoj, now the Main Street Manager, also expressed hopes that someone else would pick up the event.

It is no secret now something was up with the Donskoj partnership. And there were sings all around. The couple recently divorced. The Donskoj Gallery became the Storefront Gallery.

One of the things that stuck with me was when George said last year that for some teens, the derby has always been a part of their lives. It's always been here.

For this transplant, that's the truth.

The future of the event is up in the air, and it's probably up to the Kingston community to pick it up from now on.

In the meantime, let the good memories prevail. Gravity control and all.