Here’s a BC Royal Museum video of the 1949 Mission Strawberry Festival and Soapbox derby for Throwback Thursday.
In 1949, the festival and derby had only been around for 3 years. The latter grew into a huge, unexpected success.
It became a provincial-wide contest held in Mission by 1950. Six year later the Strawberry festival was dropped and they became separate events.
At its height, tens of thousands of people came to Mission to watch hundreds of kid contestants from 40 different communities test their makeshift cars. The winner would go on to compete in the international championships in Akron, Ohio.
The event had many sponsors, but not enough to cover the rising cost of staging the event. Declining interest led to the derby being cancelled in 1974.
It was brought back in 1999 through the sponsorship of the Mission & District Lions Club, then taken over in 2002 by the Mission & District Soap Box Derby Association.
It was cancelled in 2019 due to a lack of volunteers and a no permanent track, and has not been put on since.