ALTON - As many as 60 children between first and fifth grades packed into Piasa Armory, located at 3685 E. Broadway in Alton, for the annual Pinewood Derby event. 

The Pinewood Derby is a tradition for Boy Scout troops in the area. In Pinewood Derbies, children build cars out of blocks of wood and four nails for the purpose of letting gravity take its course during a series of downhill races on a track built inside the armory on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. As many as 60 kids took part in the event, which lasted from 12:30-2 p.m. Saturday. 

Adult volunteers at the event said the children take their block of wood and design it into a car, which includes carving, sanding and painting it. One parent volunteer said kids sand some of the nails with several different grades of sanders. 

The finished product is then weighed and measured. The car cannot be any longer than seven inches, including wheels, and cannot be any heavier than five ounces. Finishing touches were made available for kids who needed to shave excess weight from their entries, or add weight to their vehicle. 

Once each car had been inspected, children were able to race their cars down tracks to measure their velocity. Children racing in four different age-based classes competed against each other for trophies. First, second and third in each age division were awarded a trophy. 

Another pinewood derby will be taking place this weekend at the Alton Square Mall, featuring Girl Scouts. That event has more than 100 racers and will begin around 1 p.m. 

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Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at [email protected]

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