Barrel Derby Days A tradition born of bootlegging….
Just how long does it take for a barrel to travel along the Kettle River from the Midway Bridge at Ferry, Washington to the historic Curlew, Bridge in Curlew, WA? In an annual event, that’s been taking place since 1950 (with a short hiatus in the 1970’s), folks in Curlew challenge themselves and visitors to give it their best guess.
Tradition has it that during Prohibition, bootleggers tried to slip barrels of illegal whiskey across the Canadian border and past Customs officials by floating their contraband down from Midway, British Columbia, along the Kettle River to the town of Curlew, where the barrels were reclaimed from the water.
Nowadays, a single barrel is set adrift at the Midway bridge in Ferry County, WA (just south of Midway, British Columbia) and the liquid in the barrel is just plain water. But, the excitement that the crowd experiences as the barrel arrives at Curlew is as enthusiastic now as it was then.
Sponsored by the Curlew Civic Club, funds collected through these events support the Curlew Community Center as well as other scholarship funds. Events each year typically include pancake breakfast, parade through downtown Curlew, arrival of the barrel at the town bridge in Curlew, hoop jam tournaments, 4-H activities, ice cream social, face painting.
More Info, Schedule, & Location
FerryCounty.com wishes to thank Julie Helmick for providing the event information used as the basis of this article.