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Kirby Derby is racing through Dix Park this weekend

Racers and racing fans, head to Dix Park for this unique Raleigh event. The Kirby Derby is an all-ages quirky festival with a parade, races, and vendors.

A miniature truck with Oak City Farms Milk Mules painted on the side riding down a street.

This year’s Kirby Derby will be the biggest yet.

Photo by Beth Khalifa

If you see quirky holiday costumes or strange non-motorized vehicles zooming around this weekend, don’t worry; It’s just Kirby Derby.

Kirby Derby has been a Raleigh tradition since 2002 when Aly and Beth Khalifa paraded down Kirby Street in Pullen Park Terrace with friends to celebrate creativity and home-grown fun. Over the years, the event has grown bigger and sillier with a formal derby and a move to Dix Park.

The 21st annual Kirby Derby is on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 3-9 p.m. at Dix Park, and is going to be bigger than ever. This year’s derby has been moved to the Richardson Drive Loop of the park due to construction.

The 2023 theme is “Holidazed and Confused,” celebrating well-known and obscure holidays alike. Come dressed up in your best holiday attire, from an ugly holiday sweater to your red, white, and blue for Independence Day.

A canoe fashioned into a cart with a rum runner theme.

Last year’s theme was 1920s, and racers went all out.

Photo by Beth Khalifa

The day starts with pinecar races for kids of all ages at 3:30 p.m. This isn’t your typical Boy Scouts derby, so double check the rules before you and your festive racecar show up.

Homemade parade floats will start trooping through Dix Park at 4:30 p.m., themed to any and all holidays. Past floats include a giant shoe, a paper shark, and a rideable flamingo. If you’re interested in creating a last-minute float, register for your place online.

Finally, the soap box derby will barrel through the park at 5:30 p.m. with handmade non-motored vehicles carrying racers. This event is for the thrill-seekers, but be sure to follow all rules to ensure a fair + safe competition.

As you relish the events throughout the day, stay satiated with food + bev options from local vendors like Ponysaurus, Trophy Brewing, Los Gringos, Charlies Kabobs, Goodness Grace Us, and LocoPops.