A Time-Honored Tradition: The 80th Annual Terrapin Derby in Lepanto

Kimberly J. Williams
The contestants line up for the race. Adrenaline flows…the crowd grows quiet. The course is cleared. The athletes take off at an unusual pace…and it can take them up to 20 minutes to complete the 60-foot track. But at the end…yummy watermelon awaits! It’s Lepanto’s annual Terrapin Derby!

The Lepanto Terrapin Derby celebrates its 80th year on Oct. 2. Held along Lepanto’s Main Street, the Terrapin event features live music and entertainment, arts and crafts, and special activities for kids. But there’s no doubt that one of the festival’s main draws is the race. The race features turtles, sporting numbers on their shells, “rushing” down a 60-foot racetrack, all vying for the watermelon located at the finish line!

Don’t worry…you don’t have to find a turtle for the race. The entry fee for the race includes a numbered, four-legged “athlete!” But you don’t get to keep the turtle! For more information, phone 870-475-2415.

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