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A history of the

Magnolia

Soap Box Derby


a brief roll through the All-American Soap Box Derby's reign in Macon, Georgia

The All-American Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. World Championship finals
are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. The event has grown every year since--in 2012, more than 550 youngsters
between the ages of 7 and 17 represented their home communities in the 75th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby. They
came from 40 states in the United States, as well as from Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.
Like the All-American Soap Box Derby, the Magnolia Soap Box Derby also has an interesting and long history here in Macon,
Georgia. Below is a timeline reflecting our road here!

1936

Macon, GA holds its first Soap Box Derby.


Winner Herman Brown is sent to the
national All American Soap Box Derby race
in Akron, OH.

1930

1941

All American Soap Box Derby races


postponed due to War effort.

1946

All-American Soap Box Derby returns


to Macon, Georgia at its new location on
Emery Highway. Macon Telegraph estimates
between 25,000-30,000 people came to
watch the event, all of whom lined both
sides of the course, and filled every point of
vantage on top of houses, electric light poles
and in trees.

1987

Thanks to 100 local volunteers (including


the Derbys first winner in 1936, Herman
Brown and City Councilman Ed Defore), 12
different committees and several sponsors,
the Soap Box Derby returns to Macon, GA,
after a 40-year hiatus. 1987 also marks the
50th anniversary of the All-American Soap
Box Derby. After much deliberation, the
race is moved to Eisenhower Parkway (near
the Macon Mall between Log Cabin Drive
and Bloomfield Rd.) 29 cars were reported
to have registered for the race.

1940

1947
1950

1950 - 1980s
Macons
Sad,
Soap Box-less
Era

The last All-American Soap Box Derby


in Macon, GA until 1987, due in no small
part to the number of crashes and injuries
incurred at the race (there were seventeen
accidents that caused eight injuries). The
races 53 heats took a blistering five
hours of grueling racingunder a torrid
sun and in 94 degree weather, there
were approximately 20,000 spectators
in attendance to watch one hundred and
six boys compete in the 10th annual AllAmerican Soap Box Derby.

1980

1995

1990

The Macon Soap Box Derby is moved to


Ivey Drive, mile from Raley Road near
Sams Club and the main Middle Georgia
State College (then Macon College)
entrance on Eisenhower.

2009

A rag-tag team of Maconites decides to


give the Soap Box Derby a new start by
racing cars down Magnolia Street hill in
downtown Macon, next to Washington Park.
This new beginning is aptly dubbed the
Magnolia Street Soap Box Derby. Unlike
traditional Soap Box Derbies, Magnolia
Street Soap Box limited racing to adult
drivers.

2014
2000

2010

The Magnolia Street Soap Box Derby is


awarded a Knight Neighborhood Challenge
grant, which is used to fund all seven Bibb
county high schools with soap box car
kits, tools, and programming within their
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
and Mathematics) Curriculum. To mark this
development and the broadening of the
event to all of the Macon-Bibb community,
the Derby officially changes its name to
Magnolia Soap Box Derby.

For more information about the Magnolia Soap Box Derby,


visit our website at www.magnoliaderby.com or join our community on facebook, twitter, and instagram.