Wilkeson’s day to shine with the national handcar races | July 21

Among the regular visitors during Wilkeson’s summer celebration are Buckley’s firefighting  - Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald
Among the regular visitors during Wilkeson’s summer celebration are Buckley’s firefighting
— image credit: Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

The public is invited to share in the fun and games Saturday as the historic mining town of Wilkeson celebrates its 37th annual national handcar races.

Things get rolling early, as the Wilkeson Eagles will host a pancake breakfast beginning at 6 a.m. at the hall. The public is invited and tickets are $5 each.

At 11 a.m., a parade makes its way along Church Street, past the town’s block-long business district. Among the special guests slated to make an appearance are Smokey Bear and Lila the Ladybug.

The parade will be followed at noon by a performance by the Seattle Cossacks, a motorcycle stunt and drill team. Riders perform precision maneuvers, often with four or five men on a single cycle. The team will perform in front of Wilkeson Elementary.

Attention then turns to the competition of handcar races, lawnmower races and a tug-o-war, all at Coke Oven Park. Registration will be taken at the park for those who had not registered and paid fees in advance at City Hall or the Wilkeson Saloon. Participants will be competing on a recently-rebuilt handcar.

During the day, a street fair will boast vendors and a beer garden, along with free games and a bouncy castle for kids. The Reptile Man, who attracts good crowds wherever he goes, will put on a show beginning at 3 p.m. at the elementary school. East Pierce Fire Department will be on hand during the day with a booth selling bike helmets and life jackets; the wearer needs to be present to get fitted.

The day concludes with a street dance featuring live music. The dance begins at 7 p.m. in front of the Eagles Hall.

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