As the end of the year rapidly approaches, It's a good time to take a moment to look back at the 2017 car show season. I had planned to write this year-end recap back in November, but family commitments, Thanksgiving, my spouse convalescing from a total knee replacement, and updates to the website delayed this by a few weeks.
Now that things have started to settle down a bit, let's look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2017 season.
I managed to attend 80 events from January through November. Of the 80 events, only six did I attend as a non-participant.
The list below reflects my opinion of the events I attended. In no way does it encompasses ALL the events that took place in Central Ohio during the season. If you attended a show or cruise-in not on my list that you thought was exceptionally good or bad, please share it in the comments. Feel free to also post a comment if you disagree with any of my choices.
Ok, so let's get started with the Good.
BEST REGISTRATION FEE CAR SHOWS:
Champaign Cruisers 4th of July Car Show at Skelley's Lumbar Company in Urbana, Ohio. You can tell the Cruisers have been doing this for 20 years. The show is extremely well-organized. The club even goes as far as to mark off parking areas in the grass with spray paint. There were plenty of food vendors, nice door prizes, a unique venue, and great mix of vehicles from Ohio and Indiana.
Vettes, Rods and Classic Car Show at the Creekside district in downtown Gahanna, Ohio. Hosted by the Capital City Corvette Club, this show has grown steadily every year. The Creekside district makes a unique venue for a car show. There are plenty of restaurants in the district to meet most everyone's culinary tastes. Judging is based on a point system, and awards are presented in two categories, one for the Corvettes and the other for the rods and classics.
Cruisin' for a Cause at the Discovery Church in Dublin, Ohio. This show
raises money for a different cause each year. This year the cause was Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. In addition to the cars, there's also a craft show and model car contest going on simultaneously. Each year the show offers unique custom hand-made trophies. All vehicles are thoroughly judged and awards are based on a point system.
The Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, Ohio held the end-of-the-season cruise-in banquet on Thursday. More than 134 people signed up for the festivities.
For a little historical perspective, this marked the sixth year the restaurant has held a weekly cruise-in from May through September. The very first cruise-in occurred on May 24, 2012. A total of seven cars showed up for that first cruise-in. Boy have things come a long way since then.
Here are some of the highlights from this season...
The cruise-in reached 100 automobiles (104 to be exact) for the very first time on June 29. The 100 mark would be reached again on August 24 and September 28.
Bad weather affected five cruise-ins including the first week
Host, Wayne Nisely, missed his one and only cruise-in on June 22 because of a health issue.
Wayne celebrated his 79th birthday on July 27, however, the celebration had to be postponed to the following week because of bad weather
This season had 183 first-timers. There were first-timers every week except for two of the rain outs
327 people participated in at least one cruise-in this season
My four-year old grandson recorded his first ever cruise-in
Der Dutchman presented everyone that registered for the banquet a beautiful plaque commemorating the season.
Of course, there had to be group photo of Wayne and the gang before the evening ended.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say a heart-felt thanks goes out to Wayne, his wife, Luella, Victor, Drew, and the Der Dutchman management for making this season the best one yet.
Next year's cruise-ins will kick-off on May 24, 2018. I've already got it marked on my calendar. Can't wait for another great season.
I made the drive to Sunbury on Sunday morning to participate in the 28th Annual Sunbury Lions Club Country Cruise-In (formerly ASC Sunbury Relay for Life Country Cruise-In).
Although the weather was unusually warm for this time of year, no one complained too much. We all understood there won't be many more warm and sunny days left in this year.
The Lions Club did something new this year that I think deserves comment. They added three additional "Favorite" awards for vehicles 2000 and newer. This brought the grand total of "Favorites" to 73.
From what I understand, there were a few complaints last year about some of the newer cars receiving awards. You can count my 2013 Camaro ZL1 convertible as one of those newer cars to receive a "Favorite" award at last year's show. Some felt the show was exclusively a "classic" car show, and as such, only classic vehicles should be eligible for an award.
I think any show intended for "classic" only cars should be up front about this in all advertising and marketing. I have no issue with a show specifying that it's for cars of a certain age. On the other hand, understand that those of us with modern sport or muscle cars do enjoy showing off our vehicles too. If we give up an afternoon and pay the registration fee to participate in a show, it's only fair that our vehicle be considered for award. What is frustrating is a show that readily takes your money but has no intention of considering your car for an award.
With that said, I applaud the Lions Club for recognizing the newer cars. This makes good business sense as it will expand the number of vehicles likely to participate in the show each year. There's talk of increasing the number of 2000 and newer awards to five for next year's show.
The all-day drizzle on Saturday washed out my original plans to attend the 10th Annual Coughlin Car Show in Pataskala, Ohio. Fortunately, the rain moved out of the area just in time to bring nice weather for the shows scheduled on Sunday and Labor Day.
RIVER CAR RALLY CRUISE IN
Despite wet roads early Sunday morning, I made the drive to The River Church In A Barn Car Rally Cruise In. The church is located a few miles north of Delaware, Ohio on Rt. 42.
This is the 15th year the church has held
the rally cruise-in on the first Sunday of September. It's also my third year participating in the event.
The cruise-in offered free registration, hot dogs, popcorn and sno-cones. Sunday
Service at 10AM was open to anyone wishing to attend. Anyone registering an automobile was automatically entered to win a nice selection of door prizes. Raffle tickets could also be purchased to win a 13 drawer tool chest. All donations benefitted the Orphan Outreach program.
New this year was a ragtime band providing "live" entertainment.
I think the early morning wet roads caused attendance to be down a little from previous years. Only 53 automobiles and eight motorcycles turned out for this year's rally.
Despite the great weather, the two major downtown shows on Saturday saw a drop in registration compared to previous years.
The Performance Classic Car Show in downtown Delaware, Ohio (formerly Blast from the Past) ended up with around 450 registered vehicles. In recent years, this show had registration figures in the 600-700 range. The show set an all time high of 750 registered vehicles in 2015.
I participated in the downtown Plain City downtown show two years ago and registration that day was well over 200 cars. This year the show missed the 200 mark by 11 cars. I'm assuming the change in the hours of the show was to attract some cross-over participation from the Delaware show.
It certainly didn't help that Columbus and surrounding area had nine other shows on the schedule for Saturday. Word on the street had the Jax Wax registration at around 250 cars. If anyone has registration numbers from any of the other shows on Saturday, please post them in the comments.
After rain cancelled the previous week's cruise-in, the fall-like weather on Thursday fueled a record 103 automobiles at the weekly Der Dutchman cruise-in in Plain City, Ohio. This is the second cruise-in this season to see 100 or more vehicles. This week also saw 18 participants new to the cruise-in.
Here's a sampling of autos from Thursday evening.
Host, Wayne Nisely, and his wife, Luella, raffled off 14 deserts and a $30 gift card at the end of the cruise-in. No question the Der Dutchman cruise-in is turning into a popular event on Thursday evenings.
CHESROWN FRIDAY NIGHT CRUISE
For the third year in a row, Chesrown Chevrolet, Buick, GMC held a cruise-in at their dealership on Rt. 23 the Friday evening before the Delaware downtown car show (formerly known as Blast from the Past) .
Saturday I traveled south of I-70 to attend my first Purple Door Cruise-in at the Grove City United Methodist Church in Grove City, Ohio. This show is part of the 2017 Auto Smarts Radio Cruise and Ride sponsored shows. Dan "Boots" Longenette from Auto Smarts Radio was on hand to help with the judging and present the awards.
With just about perfect weather, the show registered more than 130 automobiles. There were door prizes, 50/50 raffle, DJ, and food provided by the church.
Registration was only $10 and included a raffle ticket for the door prizes, and a coupon to get a second sandwich free with the purchase of the first sandwich. All proceeds from the show help to fund the work of the church's mission committee.
After the first hour, I thought I might have the only car above the above the year 2000. By the end of registration, however, there were at least a dozen late-model vehicles entered in the show. Although not entered in the show, a white 2017 Camaro ZL1 belonging to one of the Judges was parked a few cars down from mine. What are the odds that TWO brand new Camaro ZL1s would show up at the same show?
This past Thursday saw 84 vehicles turn out for the weekly Der Dutchman cruise-in in Plain City, Ohio. Sixteen of those vehicles were first-time visitors to the cruise-in. One of those first-time visitors was my 4-year-old grandson, Henry, who drove his battery-powered Dodge police cruiser from the parking lot to the cruise-in.
I can't tell you how excited Henry was to participate in his first cruise-in. According to his Dad, he even cleaned his car for the show.
I helped him register for the raffle prizes, and fill out the card with the all information about his car.
Everyone seemed to enjoy having Henry there, and I know he had a great time. He even handled not winning any of the raffle prizes pretty well for a four-year old. Hopefully this experience starts him on a life-long love of cars.
Last week a 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster showed up at the cruise-in. I wrote that I was disappointed the owner didn't open the hood so I could see the engine. Well, the car returned this week and asked the owner if I could see the engine. Come to find out the car is a reproduction Auburn Boattail that's powered by a Chevy crate motor.
The great weather brought out quite a few convertibles to this week's cruise-in. These included a 1953 Ford Sunliner convertible with flathead engine, a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible, and of course, Henry's police car.
It turned to be another evening of great weather, great automobiles, and great fun at Der Dutchman...