33.8 °F
December 03, 2016
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June is bustin’ out all over!

Just prior to the race, all participants gathered for the first annual Sullivan County Soap Box Derby.

Many of the masks were recognizable subjects and, according to the artist, “each one has a legend, or story, behind it.” Heads of state, Greek gods and historical tyrants adorn the walls of the gallery, alongside lions, tigers and bears (and one whimsical fox, which, quite naturally, caught my attention). Saj, a retired surgeon, has traded in his bone saw for a band saw, and the results are amazing. The show runs through July 1, and is (IMHO) really worth a visit.

Running on empty, I made my way to Kauneonga Lake and refueled at the Changing of the Guard (www.changingoftheguardny.com ), one of the many charming watering holes now lining Horseshoe Lake Road. With such a great variety of restaurants, bakeries and WiFi cafes springing up on its shores, Kauneonga has become a “destination” and I plan to eat my way through them all, while strolling the neighborhood and greeting neighbors along the way.

Internal engines revved, I headed out to Liberty, NY and the First Annual Sullivan County Soap Box Derby. Hundreds of cheering fans, scores of local sponsors and 32 racers were out in full force, and I learned a few things during the course of the day. All American Soap Box Derby regional director Mark Scuderi was impassioned while addressing the crowd. “This is much more than just racing these cars down a hill,” he announced. “It’s about building self-esteem.”

Divided into two categories and age groups, the boys and girls had spent a good deal of time on their tricked-out, motorless vehicles, most emblazoned with sponsorship logos, and all gleaming in the morning sun. Thirteen-year-old Jacob Feigenbutz, from Fremont Center, “watched the instructional video and built the car himself” without waiting for help from family members planning to assist, according to proud grandma Zoanne Deckelman. Derby champion Ryan Parsons will go on to compete in the National Derby in Akron, OH.

With summer just around the corner, the hills are very much alive, and the endless parade of events, entertainment and natural beauty has just begun. Gentlemen (and ladies)... start your engines!