The Soapbox Racers of Nevada City

An offbeat town's zippiest summer event will soon roll.

Akim Aginsky

HILLY HIGH JINKS: If you've been to Nevada City, and we'll just assume you have, if you like historic towns with long histories, funky breakfast places, artistic locals, wild senses of humor, and lots of nature, then you know it can tend towards hilliness. Not extreme hilliness, but you'll walk up and down several grades, guaranteeing your calves'll probably complain a bit later. (Whatever; it's good for you.) But a hilly town with a sense of humor and a long history also has a habit of hosting the most interesting annual events. Nope, not holiday parades and fireworks and such, nice though those are. We're talking offbeat stuff, like soapbox races, those quirky competitions where racers have to build their own dream machines. Nevada City has one of the best known 'round our state, and it rolls, literally, each June. The date is lined up for this year and the cars'll be colorful.

THAT DATE IS... Saturday,  June 22 starting at noon. There are a couple of spots left as of this typing, if you happen to be a soapboxer, but if you want to make a weekend of it, and head to the NC for some quality cheering on of soapboxery artiness, you should. Let us also reference again those artistic locals. Nevada City embraces a creative spirit, so the small vehicles set to race will veer from wildly strange to "what in the world is that?" So, it will all be fairly awesome, in short. Last but not least, and this is definitely worth a mention: Gravity does the work with a soapbox derby, not gasoline. So luck and downward whoosh play as big a part in the day as anything else (design, pluck, and nerve are important, too). It's a fine and funny way to welcome in summer, in one of Gold Country's, and the Golden State's, sweetest towns.

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