Derby Days: A city staple for 75 years

This weekend, Derby Days turns 75. To mark the occasion, Rachel Van Winkle, events and marketing administrator for the City of Redmond, said the annual summer event will have a more festive-than-usual birthday party theme.

This weekend, Derby Days turns 75.

To mark the occasion, Rachel Van Winkle, events and marketing administrator for the City of Redmond, said the annual summer event will have a more festive-than-usual birthday party theme.

From a birthday cake-eating contest to a birthday-themed Grand Parade, she said the theme will be present throughout the festival.


In addition, Van Winkle said they have brought back activities from the derby’s early days beginning in 1940, reinventing them for today. Some of those activities include watermelon-eating contests and tricycle races.

Another activity that has been brought back — but reinvented — is the Derby Queen Scholarship.

Van Winkle said it is now called the Derby Do-Gooder Award and highlights a high school junior or senior from Redmond who has been impacted by completing community service. She added that the scholarship, which is sponsored by Umpqua Bank, is now also open to both male and female applicants.

The inaugural Do-Gooder recipient is Julia Doherty, who graduated from Redmond High School on June 12. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Umpqua Bank and appear in the Derby Days Grand Parade.

“We want to support positive youth development through our volunteerism, giving and education programs,” said Alana Ferrie, Umpqua Bank representative, in a City of Redmond press release. “Umpqua is very proud to see teens support their community and making a positive impact on other people’s lives. We are honored to recognize Julia Doherty as the 2015 Derby Do-Gooder.”

The release states that Doherty has diverse volunteer experience, which has impacted her by giving her a sense of purpose and has inspired her to do more.

As previously reported, some of the volunteer work Doherty has done was through Girl Scouts. For her Gold Award, she worked with the city’s Office of Emergency Management to help teens prepare for emergency situations by developing curriculum for Redmond Ready Day.

Many of the Derby Days staples will be returning this year, including the Criterium (the nation’s longest-running bicycle race), Redmond Fire Department Pancake Breakfast, Derby Dash 5K and Kids and Grand parades.

Van Winkle said with the Criterium, there will be an introduction to the race in which kids ages 9-13 can ride their bikes along the Criterium route.


With the Grand Parade, Van Winkle said entries will continue with the weekend’s theme and have some sort of birthday party motif. In addition, she said the parade’s grand marshals, longtime Redmond residents Roger Trepanier and Sandy Marion, like the festival, are also celebrating their 75th birthdays this year.

Van Winkle noted that this year’s parade route has changed. It begins on the corner of Northeast 85th Street and 158th Avenue Northeast, will travel south and head east on Northeast 83rd Street and north on 161st Avenue Northeast before heading west on Northeast 85th Street and finishing where it started.

“It just spreads it out,” Van Winkle said, adding that this will give more people a chance to see the parade along its route.

The Kids Parade will also run the same route, but will head north on 160th Avenue Northeast up to Northeast 85th Street — a shorter route to accommodate the younger participants.

Also in this year’s Grand Parade will be a Fill The Truck float by Redmond United Methodist Church. This will be a food drive and people are encouraged to bring a bag of non-perishable food items to the parade route, watch for the church’s truck and hand their donation to a walker in a dark blue shirt. Donations will benefit Redmond Nourishing Network’s feeding programs such as Open Kitchen, Hopelink, Pantry Packs, Hawks vs. Hunger and the City of Redmond Summer Feeding Program.


Van Winkle said this year’s Derby Days will bring the focus back to the Redmond community with the comeback of old derby activities as well as having all the featured food vendors from Redmond and the beer and wine garden sponsored by all five Redmond craft breweries and Vortex Winery.

Continuing with this theme of community, on Tuesday, the city honored Shirley and Bob Ferguson — owners of Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond — for their longtime support of the Kids Parade.

“The Fergusons’ support and ongoing commitment to Derby Days has been a treasure for the past 40 years. The city appreciates their generous sponsorship of the 75th Derby Days Kids Parade,” said Mayor John Marchione.

In addition, Van Winkle said they will be encouraging people to walk along the Redmond Central Connector to Redmond Town Center for the Redmond Arts Festival, which will be taking place all weekend.


Entertainment for this year’s Derby Days includes Friday Night Live, which starts today at 4 p.m. The Polyrhythmics, a world-beat orchestra with a horn-driven funk and modern afro beat opens the night, followed by headliner Cambulache, a Salsa band that lays down infectious Latin rhythms.

Main stage entertainment for Saturday begins at noon with Bleachbear, an indie band with layered harmonies; Recess Monkey, a trio that marries indie rock with childhood themes, will play at 1:30 p.m.; Paris Williams rocks with pop classics at 5 p.m.; Walker McGuire, a singer/songwriter team on the country music scene, will play at 6 p.m.

The evening headliner, Heart by Heart, will take the stage at 8 p.m. The band includes Heart’s co-founding member and bassist Steve Fossen and original Heart drummer Mike Derosier — both members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As usual, Derby Days will end with a fireworks display, sponsored by R-Trip.

Parking is available at the City Hall Parking Garage, Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center and Redmond Town Center. A free shuttle will run on Saturday between parking sites from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

For a map of the festivities, schedules and additional information, visit