Wilkeson ready for handcars and more

The sleepy town of Wilkeson is gearing up for its biggest event of the year. The 35th annual Wilkeson Handcar and Lawnmower Races open Saturday June 17 with much ado, including a parade, vendors and the namesake racing events.

Buckley community members spent the past weekend cleaning and clearing the fields surrounding the train track, as well as cleaning out the historic coke ovens behind the spectator’s area.

“There’s usually a huge turnout,” organizer Heather Malavotte said. “We’ve entertained a few thousand people at least in past years.”

The parade will kick off 11 a.m. and progress south through town. This year, at least 25 parties have been entered into the parade so far, Malavotte said.

The races will begin at noon with handcars, with intermissions of lawn mower racing and a tug of war contest as the afternoon progresses.

Vendors will be set up throughout the day to serve food and sell keepsakes.

Thirsty spectators will be able to wet their whistles at one of two beer gardens hosted by the Wilkeson Eagles. A beer garden will be operated close to the race track from noon to 5 p.m. A second garden at the Eagles clubhouse will open at 4 p.m. and run until midnight.

Musical entertainment in the first beer garden will include the Heavy Hammer Bagpipers, Clarinetium, the Wilkebelles and Trio Tropicale.

Entry forms are still being accepted from vendors, tug of war, handcar races, lawnmower races and paraders. Parade entry forms will be accepted through 9 a.m. the day of the event. The forms can be downloaded from, and sent to the Wilkeson Booster Club at P.O. Box 239 Wilkeson, 98396 or

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