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Akron hosts 83rd Annual First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby

83rd Annual First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby kicks off in Akron

After the event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers say they are even more excited this year.

AKRON, Ohio — The 83rd Annual First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby kicked off in Akron this week after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the beloved event in 2020. 

Despite the cancelation last year, drivers told 3News that absence made the heart grow fonder, making this year’s event more exciting.

Racers took to the track at Derby Downs in Summit County Wednesday morning, with plenty of fans cheering them on along the way.

RELATED: Akron’s Soap Box Derby receives thousands of dollars in grant funding to improve general operations

President & CEO Mark Gerberich told 3News’ Kelly Matter that people from all over the United States flocked to Akron this year to race for fun and scholarships. First place winners receive $3,000, second place $2,000, and third place $1,000.

“We are excited to be back with 260 champs from all over the country,” Gerberich said. 

On top of the financial incentive, Gerberich says that there is a significant learning advantage associated with the race as well. 

“Kids build the cars themselves and learn about STEM education,” Gerberich says. “The races are really close, there’s that difference of how you build your car, where you put your weights, and of course the talent of the racers,” the CEO added. 

The world championship takes place Saturday and tickets are $5. 

RELATED: International Soap Box Derby receives grant to expand STEM education in Summit County schools

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Editor’s note: The video in the player above is from a previously published, unrelated story posted to our WKYC Youtube on August 15, 2019.

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