Annual Soap Box Derby draws hundreds to Akron

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AKRON, Ohio -- Nearly 500 young racers and their families from all over the planet will be in Akron this week for the 77th Annual All-American Soap Box Derby.

The derby festivities started Monday afternoon with the Parade of Champions.

It was a beautiful day for a parade as hundreds of race lovers lined Main Street for the First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby parade.

Kids young and old came out.

"I'm very excited because I've never been here before.  We are seeing the Soap Box Derbies,” said Luke Huntsman of Akron.

"Seventy-seven years and I'm 66 and I've been going to them ever since I can know, ever since I can remember,” said Claudia Toney of Akron.

As the parade ended at Locke 3, the names of nearly 500 youngsters from all over the world were called.  They will be competing in the soap box races this coming weekend.

"I'm really glad to be here, it's fun, it's so much fun you meet people from all over the world. You have a blast here," said Hayley Long of Akron.

Of course plenty of proud parents made the trip to see their children compete in the races.

"We are happy to be back.  First time around it was a stock car and this time masters.  This is the one where the kids get down inside," said Tim Longfellow from Norton, Ohio.

Boys and girls from ages  7 to 18 earned a trip to Akron's Soap Box Derby by winning local races in their gravity powered race cars.

"I love this because it's a sport where my family can get together and everyone has to get involved to be able to do this," said Megan Gongaware of Perry township.

There will be events all week long leading up to the Soap Box Derby races which will start on Saturday at 8 a.m.