Hundreds brave heat for Kingston Artist Soapbox Derby


Lester the Goose declared the artistic winner

KINGSTON – The crowd was noticeably thinner for the 2016 Kingston Artist Soapbox Derby. Only about a dozen contestants participated with roughly 200 spectators, for the 21st annual event, held Sunday on Broadway Downtown, at high noon.
“It was a very hot day, but people still had fun,” explained organizer Sarah Olivieri, who co-chaired this year’s derby with Sarah Bissonnette-Adler. “We like to call ourselves the Chaos Directors,” Olivieri said. She took over from her husband Felix, who ran the show last year.
Sunday’s sweltering conditions, with a heat over 100, didn’t stop the cheering spectators who showed up, including Mayor Steve Noble, his family, and a brass marching band.
“The force of gravity has not changed,“ Olivieri added, noting that contestants were asked this year to swing around at the bottom of the hill and decelerate going back along the Uptown side of Broadway This was the first year that the derby took over both sides of the Boulevard, blocking traffic in each direction.
Voting for the winners was done using a smart phone app, with 119 electronic ballots cast, Olivieri said.
“We had most of the volunteers using their phones as little voting kiosks, so I know everyone got to vote. We used a survey system online and we allowed people to access it via their smartphones, from home or via our volunteers’ smartphones,” she said.
Lester the Goose took People’s Choice, with 38 votes, taking roughly 32 percent of the tally. The float, which resembled a flying fowl, was created by Elka and Lori from the 91st Sojourners Scout Group of the Baden-Powell Service Association.
Runners-up include Eco-Matilda, a rolling tug boat sporting fancy bubbles spouting out of its smokestack. The well-built vessel was made by Lorie Karnath, Robert and Tiber Roethenmurd, and Louis, Kole, Colin, and Nicole Deolde. This entry also won the Reuse, Reduce & Recycle category.
Sunny, an antique carriage design, by Keith, Sin, Amy, and Hannah Hoyt, won the Blast from the Past category. There was no Rondout Reject this year. Cash prizes and home spun trophies were awarded.
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