Rhubarb Festival, Soap Box Derby Set for May 14 – Press Release 4/21/2005

DATE 04/21/2005 2:30 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Rhubarb Festival, Soap Box Derby Set for May 14

Utah’s only celebration dedicated to honoring the rhubarb and one of the state’s few remaining Soap Box Derby races will take place in Mt. Pleasant Saturday, May 14.The Annual Rhubarb Festival, sponsored by Native Wines and area merchants, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at the winery, 72 South 500 West. The event literally honors the rhubarb, a common garden plant used in making food products ranging from pies, bread and wine to jams, jellies and ice cream sauce.The Soap Box Derby races are part of the Rhubarb Festival and begin following a noon “Ugly Truck” parade down Main Street.

The festival will also include cheese and wine tasting plus a variety of foods and drinks made from rhubarb, including a new addition this year, “rhu-burgers.” There will be contests for rhubarb eating and rhubarb pie baking and awards for the best food products in a variety of categories, judged by a panel of “food experts.” There will also be a ugly truck contest, vendors, sidewalk sales, live music and street dancing are all part of the day long activities. The “Rhubarb Queen” and “Defender of the Rhubarb” will also be crowned.

The Rhubarb Festival was started several years ago by Native Wines owners Winnie Wood and Bob Sorenson and attracts crowds of visitors to the region each year. Native Wines uses locally grown and gathered fruit from heirloom trees, gardens and the countryside in its products. For more information, phone Native Wines at (435)462-9261.

The Soap Box Derby races were added to the festival in recent years. The event was designed to bring the once-popular races back to the streets of Mt. Pleasant. The races are sponsored by the Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council and local resident John McClellan.

Soap Box Derby races used to be a popular event in Sanpete County, with a lot of local residents taking part as children. The races first became popular in the 1930s. As to be expected, Soap Box derby races have grown in popularity and sophistication over the years, with contests now full of regulations and restrictions. But Sanpete County’s races remain true to the original “anything goes” soap box derby philosophy. Cars can be made of any material, including plastic, wood, metal. They should be about six to seven feet long and about three feet wide. Drivers should range in age from about eight to 16 years.

“Anything goes,” says McClellan, who also oversaw last year’s festivities. “And we get anything and everything too, from a two-by-10-foot board with wheel barrel wheels, to streamlined, competitive cars. We leave it open so that the kid who just has a set of lawnmower wheels can come and have fun too. There is something for everyone.” For additional information, contact McClellan at (435) 462-3808.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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