The “Rockin’ Clowns” rocked the Wilkeson National Handcar Races parade last year. Photo by Kevin Hanson

The “Rockin’ Clowns” rocked the Wilkeson National Handcar Races parade last year. Photo by Kevin Hanson

Wilkeson boosters sparking early interest in Handcar Races

Get your information in early to be a part of the parade or handcar races.

Wilkeson’s Booster Club is actively promoting this year’s Handcar Weekend by sending out an early call for entries, teams and vendors.

The highlight of Wilkeson’s summer includes a parade, tug-o-war, handcar races and more. This year’s big day is Saturday, July 21.

With 43 years of racing, the Booster Club is optimistic for a big turnout this time around, as renewed interest from tourists has noticeably grown in town.

“We hope to increase the fun for public participating in this unique event,” said said Amy Barber, Booster Club president. “It’s our region’s legacy and very few handcar races exist in the United States today.”

Things will get rolling with an old-fashioned downtown parade at 11 a.m. The parade is free to enter with first-place trophies in nine categories. Youth are encouraged to join in and there will be participation ribbons for all. The day continues with an all-day vendor’s market, music by The W Lovers, food, free children’s activities and a tug-o-war contest, along with the traditional handcar races.

The Eagles Club sponsors the event beer garden and will host an evening dance.

New this year will be the handcar race fees of $5 per person, per entry. Winners will receive first-place trophies and there will be awards for second and third place. Handcar teams are made up of three or five people who compete against the time clock at Wilkeson’s historic Coke Oven Park.

Merchants are encouraged to enter a six-person team to win the coveted traveling trophy that can be displayed in their business.

The historic coal mining town is just five miles from Buckley on state Route 165.

Parade entry forms, vendor or race forms can be requested by emailing wilkesonboosterclub@yahoo.com.

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