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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Derby Day

The annual neighborhood gathering known as the Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby took place the other day. Only in San Antonio and definitely only on The Eastside! Local artist and Dignowity Hill resident, Cruz Ortiz, came up with the idea of bringing together artists and other creative minds for a day at the races on Dignowity Hill Park. This was the fourth year that the Pushcart Derby has been held and it was bigger than last year's pachanga. In case you haven't attended this great's not exactly NASCAR but more like PUSHCAR. You see, if you want to compete in this race you have to design and build your own "pushcart, which is powered by two team members pushing the cart down the course. Oh yeah, some one has to steer. Entries are also judge on artistic and creative appearance of the pushcart with engineering pretty much kept to a minimum. My favorite entry was the Mad Cows. Nice set of horns but not very aero dynamic!
Apparently, the the team that won this year's race has also won it for the past 3 years! Might have to check what's under the hood of that cart at next year's derby, which, by the way will be held in March.

Cruz likes to say that this kind of event is "art intervention" to save the neighborhood from hungry developers and drug dealers. I haven't run into any hungry developers but I have seen some of the drug activity and the prostitution that surrounds our neighborhood. I like the notion that art can play a part in saving communities or at least that art can make us aware that we all have a part in making a community safer, better, and good. It was nice to see more folks attend the derby this year because it means that walls are beginning to come's OK to come to the Eastside...the people here are good. The derby also helps build a sense of pride and hope for the residents of Dignowity Hill and the Eastside. In spite of all the challenges, it can only get better! See you in March 2009!

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