Kirby Derby: Raleigh’s 12th Annual Home-grown Block Party

Now in its 12th year, Raleigh’s Kirby Derby is an annual neighborhood party with a fun mix of old-timey and progressive traditions like a PineCar Classic, a parade, “Drag” races, and a Soapbox Derby. One of the only sponsor-free local block parties, Kirby Derby is always a delight for people of all ages and it’s happening this Saturday, June 22nd.


The PineCar Classic  features mini cars built from pinewood to certain specifications from the Boy Scouts of America kit. Cars are inspected and then participate in a race with one builder emerging as a winner. Similarly, the Soapbox Derby is also a car race but on a larger scale. “Cars” must have at least 3 wheels, no engine, working brakes, and a steering mechanism, among other requirements. Participation is limited to adults only as the course includes an infamous ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ that, combined with the often scrappy nature of soapbox cars, can be quite unpredictable.

In addition to car racing, Kirby Derby also features “Drag” races where men and women really get to see what it’s like for the other side. Men are required to wear heels and dresses while women wear 3-sizes-too-big men’s work boots. Much laughing and yelling ensues until everyone reaches the finish line and 2 people emerge victorious. Another way for locals to express their creative spirit is through the parade. Anyone can be in the parade, there are few rules for floats, and there are awards!


The Kirby Derby starts at 4:00pm on Saturday, June 22, culminating with the Soapbox Derby at 6:30pm. An Afterparty begins at dark and will have live music. Two food trucks will definitely be there and logistical info on location, parking, and event schedule can be found online. Come join the mad fun!