Kirby Derby (6/23/12)

I assume that by now, everybody has heard of Kirby Derby, the annual event in the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood featuring men in dresses, experimental soapbox designs and a deadly 90-degree curve at the bottom of a hill.

Kirby Derby is for sure the best soap-box race I’ve ever been to, and the surrounding events (a pinecar derby, a drag [queen] race and a parade) turn this into one of the most exciting small-neighborhood block parties across Raleigh.

The schedule of events is as follows:

4:00 Pinecar classic (a race for small boy-scouts-style pinecars)
5:30 Parade of all participants (drag race and Kirby Derby)
6:00 Drag race (as in drag queen, not as in dragster)
6:30 Kirby Derby (usually two runs and a final)
party with bands after that

Now mind you, while the Kirby Derby is decidedly a family event and while fans of all ages are welcome, all ages can have fun, including adults. If running drag queens, gory soapbox crashes and the occasional brown bag are too edgy for you, you might want to find an alternate program. But if this is all within your level of tolerance, you will have a wonderful Saturday afternoon that everybody will remember long after.

The event takes place in the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood, off of Western Blvd., where it intersect with Pullen Road. Check out the website for details.

Raleigh Fire Truck Parade (Raleigh Fire Department Centennial) (6/14/2012)

Thanks to go out to the loyal reader who sent in this event. Suggestions for posts are always welcome!

The Raleigh Fire Department celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend, and what better way to do so than inviting a bunch of kids! How do you get the kids to come out? Fire trucks. Big ones. Old ones. Steam-engine driven. Hand-pulled. Remote-controlled (to play with). And speaking of play: a Kids corner with a bucket brigade game and toy fire truck races.

Here’s  a suggested itinerary for the day: Get to your preferred spot along the parade route early for the best view. The parade starts at 10am on Hillsborough at St. Mary’s. It will travel along Hillsborough to the Capitol and continue down Fayetteville Street to the parking lots in front of the Performing Arts Center.That also where the fire trucks (properly called “apparatus”) will be on display along with the Kids Zone, a Pumping Exhibit and the usual stuff like food vendors, and, of course, a huge birthday cake.

At noon, the antique steam engine driven fire engine will be demonstrated, and other ‘pumping displays’ (I assume that means splashing water in laymens’ terms) will happen before and after.

Did you know the Raleigh Fire Department covers on average 100 incidents per day? Show them your support and go celebrate their 100th birthday. More information can be found at