AKRON, Ohio — The welcoming parade for the International Soap Box Derby, set to be held next week in Akron, has been canceled, and the welcoming ceremony has been moved from Lock 3 Park in Downtown Akron to the University of Akron, according to a release from organizers.
“The safety of the racers, families, volunteers, partners, and the staff remains our number one priority,” organizers for the annual youth racing competition stated.
Protests in Downtown Akron over the police shooting of Jayland Walker have been ongoing since earlier this month.
The welcoming ceremonies will now begin at 1 p.m. at EJ Thomas Hall at UA, located at 198 Hill Street in Akron. Organizers said the start time was pushed back by one hour to allow families to eat lunch, as food is not allowed at EJ Thomas Hall.
Each derby champ will have the chance to be seated in the champs-only section and walk across the stage as they are announced, but champs will not be allowed to throw trinkets during the ceremony as they have traditionally done in past years. Champs are encouraged to bring the trinkets to the Rock the Rec or Topside Show on Thursday to hand out and trade.
Details on parking and changes to the schedule for the welcoming ceremonies can be found in the tweet from the International Soap Box Derby below:
The parade was originally scheduled to begin at noon on Monday, July 18, at Canal Park in Downtown Akron, according to the derby’s website. The parade route ended at Lock 3 Park, where the welcoming ceremony was originally set to take place.
Several events have been changed, canceled or postponed since Walker’s death, either out of respect for the Walker family, due to safety concerns or because the City of Akron implemented a curfew in the wake of several protests in the days following the release of body camera video of Walker’s shooting. Akron’s July 4 Rib, White and Blue Festival was canceled, and an Akron RubberDucks baseball game was postponed, among other events.
A curfew remains in effect in Downtown Akron nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., city officials announced earlier this week.
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