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Sun., Oct. 4
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High spirits, and just a few roadblocks, at Soap Box Derby in Sackets Harbor


SACKETS HARBOR — Aside from last-minute adjustments to cars and one racer who veered onto the sidewalk, the second annual 1812 Soap Box Derby went off without a hitch on Sunday.

“We were very pleased. Everyone seemed to have a good time,” said Jeffrey J. Kenney, one of the organizers of the race, which was held in conjunction with the 42nd annual Canadian-American Festival.

The free derby saw 13 participants, matching last year's numbers. It was open to children ages 5 to 13 in two classes, classic and open. Classic cars had to conform to particular style, whereas open-class cars could be designed as the racers wanted.

Jaden P. Keyes, 10, Sackets Harbor, designed his own car.

“We had to fix my brake. The new wheels were making me higher and the brakes couldn't touch the ground,” Jaden said. He piloted a well-crafted, sleek blue car, and though he did not take home a trophy, he remained enthusiastic about his second year of racing. “It's fun, because I gain a ton of speed and it's something all kids can have fun, no matter what class you use,” he said.

Alexander A. Kenney, 6, Clayton, also maintained a positive attitude after he lost control of his car and it jumped onto the sidewalk. The tumble did knock out a spectator, but the woman said she was OK.

“I wasn't lined up really good, and I just went too far and was going straight to it. It was turned,” Alex said.

This was Alex's second year of racing in the derby; last year, he crashed into an opponent. This time, he went on to place first in the 5-to-7 division of the classic class, with a time of 12 seconds.

Each participant raced twice. Shayna N. Cook, 6, took second place in the 5-to-7 division with 13.03 seconds, and Eden Lawrence, a newcomer to the derby, finished third.

Another finalist was Joshua J. Kinne, 11, Watertown, who took first place in the open class with a time of 9.75 seconds. He was racing a red and white car that has been passed through his family for four generations. He and his family installed a camera on the back of the car.

Joshua also had a camera running at last year's race, so his father could watch. At the time, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Kinne was stationed in Afghanistan. This year, Sgt. Kinne was able to see the race in person.

“It's awesome,” the proud father said. “A lot better than watching a video.”

Joshua Barker placed second in the open class, with 10.03 seconds.

Schyler R. LaMark finished first in the 8-to-10 division of the classic class, with 12.34 seconds. Joseph S. Harrienger took second place in a simple sand-colored vehicle that was designed two days prior to the race.

In the 11-to-13 division of the classic class, Kalei Davis took first place, with 12.35 seconds.

“This is only the second (race); once they see it, they're willing to participate,” said Hounsfield Supervisor Timothy W. Scee Jr.

Overall, Mr. Scee said, the Can-Am Fest went well and had a good weekend turnout despite Saturday's heat. “This is our 42nd annual, and we would like to make sure it continues,” he said.

New this year was a firetruck pull, in which teams of 10 to 15 people competed to pull a firetruck the farthest. The Saturday event had a small turnout, but organizers are hopeful for next year, Mr. Scee said.

An old-style baseball game featuring rules from the 1860s was held Sunday between the Watertown Rams and the Sackets Harbor Ontarios.

Video footage can be seen at

Vintage Baseball Game
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