If you were a young adult, teenager, or perhaps a sneaky preteen with a cool older sibling, between the 1950s and early 1990s, you likely have fond memories of Dragging Douglas.
Dragging Douglas was a decades-long Wichita tradition in which young people from all over town would spend weekend evenings in bumper to bumper traffic “dragging” on Douglas Avenue Downtown. Though a single circuit could take up to two hours, the kids on Douglas never got bored. Playing music, making friends and showing off their cars kept them busy enough, and when the time came, many draggers would switch cars to join other friends.
Occupying much of downtown on the weekends for nearly four decades, Dragging Douglas was a beloved part of life in Wichita until it was permanently closed down in the early 1990s due to increased violence. Since it’s closure, drags in other areas have been attempted, though they never really caught on like Dragging Douglas. Many enthusiast groups have sought to bring Wichita’s former favorite pastime back, but their requests have all been denied. Until now, that is.
Dragging Douglas Reopens For Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Fundraiser
Eddie Hansen with 2017 LLS Girl of the Year, Eevie.
Eddie Hansen, a candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2017 Man of the Year hosts a reopening Dragging Douglas as part of his campaign. Hansen has dedicated his campaign to the memory of his mother, Nancy Hansen, who lost her battle with leukemia when Eddie was just 18.
Because of his story, plans for Hansen's campaign came long before his official nomination.
"I always thought about what I could do if I ever got nominated to run for Man of the Year and how I could bring the community together," he said. "And this was it. My mom never liked me dragging Douglas, so it's kind of a funny way to say 'I love you, mom.'"
On May 6, from 4-9 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to relive the good ol’ days of Dragging Douglas for a great cause. The Drag will be open from 2-4 p.m., and an after-party at Union Station will feature drinks, food trucks and live entertainment provided by LA’s DJ SKU.
A $100 donation to Eddie’s campaign affords two hours on the drag route, two party tickets and four drink tickets. A $5 donation will grant entry to the after party, and all proceeds will directly benefit LLS. Those who are unable to attend may still make a donation to the campaign. Side streets between Main and Washington will be closed, so only those participating in the fundraiser will have access to the drag. Spectators can come to watch for free, and the Q-line will give free rides down the drag, too!
"We're super excited," Hansen said. "It's such a huge honor to be nominated, and we're going to have so much fun."
Hansen says that the drag can fit about 640 cars, and spots are filling up fast. From sports cars to classic models, the drag will have a little of everything.
"We're offering a deal for motorcycles, too," Hansen said. "For a $100 donation two motorcycles can participate."
About the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year Competition
Each year, seven men and seven women compete to be named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year in a competition put on by the organization. During the 10 week campaign, candidates host events and receive donations for their campaigns, in which each dollar raised counts as one vote. In 2016, local candidates raised more than $220,000.