Blue Ridge, Ga – The first annual Blue Ridge Soap Box Derby raised $4,900 for Fannin County School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program on Saturday, April 27.
The derby race was created by locals to benefit the community, specifically the children. Co-founder Brian Higgins said, “We have festivals here almost monthly, but none of them are geared toward kids, so we wanted to do something for them, and the best part is all the money goes back to them with the STEM program.”
The founders chose to donate to STEM for a couple of reasons. According to Higgins, “[Science, technology, engineering, and math] is every bit a box car when you think about.” It takes each area to build and race a soapbox car.
Second, STEM doesn’t receive SPLOST dollars. STEM’s funding comes from the general school budget, which also pays for other school supplies.
STEM teaches students computational thinking and how to use scientific methods to solve real-world problems. The program helps children to develop technological skills to find highly-sought after jobs.
All the cars adhered to soapbox derby car standards, using only gravity as a propulsion system. Each car and driver were weighed during the race qualifying to ensure everyone had a fair chance during the derby.
Local businesses sponsored and helped the children to build over 26 cars for the derby. The participants brought their creativity to the cars’ design from that paint to the wheels.
49 drivers raced down the hill at Fannin County Middle School on a great day for it. The school even donated the cafeteria for the day, so the children and spectators would have a lunch area. Local vendors were on hand to provide food for everyone in attendance.
Broken into three divisions, drivers fell into either the 7-11, 12-17, or 18 plus age groups. The 7-11 bracket had to win two out of three races during the preliminary round. The winners from those races moved on to the single race elimination round. The 12-17 and 18 plus brackets raced only a single elimination round.
Winners for the 7-11 Division
First Place: Watson
Second Place: Pierce
Third Place: Williams
Winner for the 12-17 Division
First Place: Twiggs
Second Place: Higgins
Third Place: Preising
All winners received $250, $75, or $25, depending on where they finished in the race.
Derby organizers hope to expand the event in the future with participants from across North Georgia.
A total of eight prizes were awarded including the top Four Largest Fish caught. Joshua Owens came in First Place by catching a 17 1/2″ 34.5 oz Carp. For his win, Joshua received a free half day fishing charter for one adult and two kids. This charter was provided by Jeremy Seabolt at Lake Nottely Fishing Charter.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, is almost here, Towns and Union County families! Nottely Marina, located at 86 Doucette Circle in Blairsville, is the place to be. The Kid’s Fishing Derby starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. You don’t want to miss this end-of-the-school-year family event. Admission and parking are free. Parents must accompany their kids.
Win a prize for catching one of the biggest fish. You might also win if you catch the ugliest fish, the smallest fish or the prettiest fish. The fish are biting. Carp, perch, stripers and bream have been sighted at the marina. There will be on-shore fishing activities to entertain younger kids.
Buy a lunch plate, snacks and a beverage. Enter the raffles for a chance to win more lake fun. All proceeds benefit S.A.F.E. (Support in Abusive Family Emergencies).
Meet representatives from the Georgia Deparment of Natural Resources and Lake Nottely Improvement Association. No fishing permit is required in order to participate.
The S.A.F.E. Kid’s Fishing Derby is one of two events being sponsored by Nottely Marina. There will also be a S.A.F.E. Sail Into Sunset Cruise on Tuesday evening, June 19, 2018. Watch for details.
Says Nottely Marina Manager Moriah Doucette, “We want Towns and Union counties to know that S.A.F.E. is available and the services S.A.F.E. provides to our communities. We are more than happy to assist this necessary organization in any fundraising event.”
S.A.F.E. is grateful to the following businesses that are making these events possible: Save A Lot, Blairsville; Paradise Bait and Tackle; Nottely Marina; Mike’s Seafood; Men on the Move; Lake Chatuge Marine; Ingle’s, Blairsville and Hiawassee; Hughes General Store; Food Land; and Cook’s Country Kitchen.
Additional event sponsorships are welcome, and necessary! All proceeds benefit S.A.F.E. www.SAFEservices.org. Donations are tax deductible. To make an event donation, call or text 404-664-1328.
The Mission of S.A.F.E. (Support in Abusive Family Emergencies) is to provide support, advocacy, and emergency shelter to victims of domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse, regardless of gender, and to heighten community awareness of such abuse in Towns and Union counties.