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After the finish of every season, I like to take a look back at what I think was good and what I think was not so good about it. The opinions expressed are my own and apply only to the events I attended. If you disagree with me or have an event you thought was particularly good or one not so good, please feel free to post a comment. With that said, lets get on with the review of the 2021 Central Ohio car show season..

From April 17 through November 12, I participated in 77 car shows, cruise-ins, and meet-ups and was a spectator in another nine. I took 5500 photos of classic cars, muscle cars, exotics, trucks, and motorcycles. I drove over 2600 miles round trip to report on local car events. This may all sound very impressive until you find out Jeff Tolley and his friends participated in 180 events this season. That's pretty much one every single day!

The Good:

Let's start with some good. The 2021 car show season pretty much returned to pre-pandemic normals. To my knowledge, not a single public health agency forced the cancellation of a car event this season because of Covid. Even the Governor allowed Goodguys to return to the Fairgrounds despite banning the public from attending the Ohio State Fair.

Shaun "Big Dawg" Saunders' C-Town Cruisers and Dan "Boots" Longenette and Pepsi's Auto Smarts Cruise and Ride had a full slate of events this season compared to last year. The two combined to host more than 50 shows in Central Ohio!

Following a two and three-year absence respectively, the cruise-in at Chesrown Chevrolet, Buick, GMC in Delaware, and the car show formerly known as On the Rocks in Dublin returned in 2021.

Unfortunately, not every event came back. Missing this season was the USA Days Car Show in Centerburg, Cruisin' For a Cause, one of my favorites, at the Discover Church in Dublin, the downtown Lithopolis show on Memorial Day, the Canal Winchester Labor Day car show, and the Spring Fling (it plans to be back in 2022) just to name a few of the missing shows this year.

The biggest shocker of the season came in June when it was announced after 12 years that Colo's Classic Car Show at the Columbus Zoo was canceled. A lot of rumors floated around as to the reason for the cancellation but the Zoo never put out an "official" statement as far as I know.

After hosting no shows in 2020, The Rod Knockers Car Club out of Marion and the Mid Ohio Cruisers Club out of Marysville returned with their monthly car shows. The Mid Ohio Cruisers show had a new home at the Burger King on Route 31. It took a few shows for everyone to get adjusted to the new location. No question, both clubs continue to put on the best no registration fee car shows in Central Ohio.

The weekly Thursday cruise-in at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City continued its reign as the king of Central Ohio cruise-ins. The cruise-ins started two weeks earlier this year. It was attended by more than 300 cars seven times during the summer. It set an all-time attendance record of 439 cars on the last cruise-in of the year. A whopping 2900 vehicles were registered in 2021.

Looking back over the year, I can't say there were any shows I attended that were truly outstanding. At the same time, I can't say I attended any that were horrible, either.

The Empty Pockets Cruisers hosted four shows this year instead of their usual three. All four shows were well done. Their Trunk or Treat show continues to be one of my favorites. I always say it takes car people to put on a good car show.

Shows that I participated in for the first time included the All Corvette Gathering, Hosanna Lutheran Church Car Show, Mechanicsburg First Responders Car Show, Blackwing Shooting Center Summer Blast, Farrows Hot Rods and Handlebars, and Tolles Career and Technical Center Car and Craft Show. I was a spectator at my first Italian Gathering and Kreiger Ford Mustang and All Ford Show.

Buckeye Cruzin' at Ohio Stadium gets the award for the most expensive registration fee. Although to be fair, the $175 fee went to support the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer. It was a fun event until the engine revving got out of hand and forced me to leave.

The most chaotic event this year was the Jax Wax Street Madness in July. The title gave a pretty good description of the event. Between the steady line of cars trying to get into the parking area and the hundreds of car audio systems blaring, I had a pounding headache by the time I left.

Heels and Wheels at the Vanity Gentlemen's Club was the most "adult" car show I attended. The Mayor had a couple of huge assets that were hard to overlook. Those who attended the show will know what I'm talking about.

Frank Sanborn gets this year's most miles traveled award. Not only did Frank attend shows in Central Ohio, but he also traveled to events in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Fairmount and Gas City Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Not So Good:

Some not-so-good news this year was the loss of some of our car show community members. Larry Bickers passed away in May. Many of you will remember Larry from his 2003 Mustang "Daily Driver" with more than 190,000 miles.

In September, we lost Jim Matheny. I never met Jim, but I'm told he helped organize and run lots of car shows in the Newark/Heath areas. He held positions with the Super Chevy Car Show Organization and Let's Go Cruising Magazine. For many years, he served as chairman for "Lite the Nite" and operated Jim Matheny Kar Shoz.

And finally, Terry McReynolds passed away in October. Terry was the Pace Truck Driver at Columbus Motor Speedway for more than 20 years. He was also an integral part of Pepsi's Auto Smarts Cruise and Ride team and a close friend of Dan "Boots" Longenette.

All three will be very much missed as will others who passed away this year.

This was my tenth year attending car shows and the first time experiencing a collision at one. A car leaving the North Hills Church of God Car and Bike Show in September pulled out in front of an oncoming car and caused it to flip around 360 degrees hitting a motorcycle and car participating in the show. This added a bit more excitement to the show than expected.

Another first in 2021 was my banishment from the Ohio Car Shows and Cruise-ins Facebook group in July. The reason for being banished was my disagreement with their decision not to approve the list of Central Ohio car events for the week of July 12-18. They decided not to publicize any events that might compete with their group car show at Knox County Fairgrounds that Saturday. Seriously? The group's stated purpose is to promote car shows and cruise-ins in and around the state of Ohio.

After 12 years of meeting on Saturday mornings, Columbus Cars and Coffee at Lennox Town Center was abruptly canceled in May after some participants leaving the meet displayed some very poor judgment. In November, the group started meeting on Saturdays again at The City Apartments -- formerly the old University City shopping center.

I know some of you may disagree with me -- especially everyone at the Vettes, Rods, and Classics show in August when a monsoon passed through Gahanna during the awards ceremony. But I thought the weather wasn't as big a factor this season as in prior years. Out of the hundreds of events scheduled only 15 were canceled or postponed becasue of weather. And most were postponed to a later date.

Speaking of postponed. Thanks to a forecast that turned out to be totally wrong (big surprise), the Performance Charity Car Show in downtown Delaware, Ohio was postponed from July to October. And boy did that turn out to be a good move. The weather on the October date was about as perfect as one could expect for a car show. The organizers liked the October date such much, they've decided to hold the 2022 show in October.

Top Ten:

At the end of every season, I post my ten favorite vehicles I saw at a show or cruise-in. Here are the ones that made me stop and take a second, third, or sometimes fourth look.

No. 10 - 2016 EZ Go Golf Cart model "Tow Mater" - Owner: Julie Brown

No. 9 - 1937 Humber Pullman Limo - Owner: Ryan Patten

No. 8 - Restomod 1969 Chevy Camaro - Owner: Unknown

No. 7 - 1959 Desoto Fireflite Sportsman - Owner: Kaylee Bickel

No. 6 - 1950's Jaguar XK 120 Coupe - Owner: Unknown

No 5. - 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan - Owner: Clement Thurn

No 4. - Restomod 1967 Chevy Camaro - Owner: Ed Stizza

No. 3. - 1962 Dodge Dart - Owner: Steve Brown

No. 2 - 1948 Chevy Pickup - Owner: Sam Parks

No. 1 - Legends of Rock Custom Built Motorcycle - Owner: Unknown

Favorite Photos:

Take 5500 photos and there's bound to be some favorites. Here are the ones that I think best capture the season.

Click or tap on a photo to enlarge and enter slideshow mode.

Final Thoughts:

2021 turned out to be another great year for car events in Central Ohio. Because of the reduced number of events in 2020, the sheer volume of events this season was staggering. There were a lot of Saturdays with more than 15 events on the schedule.

What I really enjoyed most about this year was the opportunity to get to know many members of the car community a little better. The people you meet and the friends you make are the main reasons car cruises are so special.

2021 also gave me a sneak peek at the future. The next generation of car enthusiasts is alive and well. They may not seek awards like our generation. And their autos may not be Chevys, Fords or Dodges, but they're proud of their rides and they like to hang out and talk cars just like we do. And that's what counts.

I want to take a moment to thank some folks who helped me compile the weekly reports. They reported on shows I didn't or couldn't attend (I still haven't figured out how to be in multiple places at once). Without their help the weekly News and Notes would not have been anywhere near as detailed.

My sincerest thanks goes out to:

  • Jeff Shankle - I know for a fact he took more car photos than I did
  • Dale Pearce - If Dale doesn't know about a show, it ain't happening
  • Dave Bratton - Great resource for show information
  • Mark & Cathy Krist - Did a great job of reporting in between planting and harvesting vegetables.
  • Dan Varner - Seems have the scoop before anyone else.

Unless there's some late-breaking news to report, I'm going to take some time off to recharge. I'm leaving for Florida at the end of December. I'll be back just in time for the start of the 2022 car show season. Look for the first installment of "Save the Dates for 2022" sometime in February. The list is already growing.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday season. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.


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An old wheelbarrow became a makeshift fire pit Friday evening to keep the 17 car and truck owners that turned out for the final Creative Towing/Advanced Auto Parts car show in Marysville, Ohio from freezing to death.

By the end of the show, temperatures had fallen into the mid to low 20's. Thank goodness there wasn't much wind or the evening would have been really brutal.

For this final show of the season, six awards were presented.

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Steady rain all day Saturday postponed one area show and washed out two others. Luckily the showers moved out the area in time for the American Legion Canteen Southway Post 144 Trunk or Treat Cruise-in on Sunday.

The event hosted by the C-Town Cruisers was held at the American Legion Canteen Southway Post 144 on South High Street in Columbus, Ohio. Along with the cars, the show featured a kid's Halloween party and hayride.

The food special inside the American Legion Canteen included a pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans and piece of cake all for $8.00.

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The Empty Pockets Cruisers hosted their annual Trunk or Treat Car show on Saturday at the Hilliard Presbyterian Church in Hilliard, Ohio.

With temperatures near 80 on Friday, a cold front moved through the area overnight dropping the high on Saturday into the mid-50s. The drastic change in temperature caused the one car club to cancel their event on Saturday.

Despite the chilly temperatures, the Empty Pocket Cruisers went on with the show and managed to register 137 vehicles. In the afternoon, there were plenty of children dressed up in costumes trick or treating their way through the cars.

Once again the Ohio Zombie Guard was there to protect the crowd from zombies, ghosts, ghouls, globlins, and other unnatural phenomena.

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The awards presentation at Saturday's Vettes, Rods & Classics show at Creekside in Gahanna, Ohio took a surprising twist when my Camaro was announced as the Best in Class winner for C7 Corvettes 2017 - 2019.

While my car and C7 Corvette Z06 do share the same engine, I doubt many would get the two cars confused.

I suspect my car was accidentally entered into the computer as a Corvette during registration. Someone saw the "Z" on my registration card and thought Corvette Z06 instead of Camaro ZL1.

Anyway, the Capital City Corvette Club handled the error with grace and presented my car with an Award of Excellence plaque. I just feel bad that someone with a very nice 2017-2019 C7 Corvette didn't receive an award.

Aside from the award mix-up, the 5th Annual Vettes, Rods, and Classics show continued to carry on the tradition as one of the best car shows in Central Ohio.

This year the Capital City Corvette Club got the city of Gahanna to agree to close the streets in the Creekside district an hour early - 11 AM instead of 12 Noon. The hour change appears to have made the initial rush of vehicles into the show area a lot smoother than it had been in previous years. I overheard two participants discussing how smooth the parking was this year. I arrived around 11:30 AM and lucked into a "Premo" parking spot at the corner of Mill Street and Ogden Aly.

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With the start of May, I predicted that cars shows taking place in 40-degree weather would be over for a while. Boy, did this weekend make a liar out of me!

Rain and cold temperatures both Friday and especially Saturday kept a lot of cars at home. The Vintage Auto Club of Delaware, Ohio First Friday cruise-in had only 20 cars show up this month.

The good news from the evening is that our good friend, Frank Sanborn, won the 50/50 raffle and donated his half back to the club. As a result, $110 will be going to Hospice of Delaware.

I was one of only nine cars that turned out for Coffee and Cars at the Richwood Bank in Delaware, Ohio on Saturday morning. Temperatures fluctuated between 49 and 50 degrees all morning with a pretty stiff wind out of the north.

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Cold temperatures and areas of Central Ohio with salt on the roads did not stop 59 cars from participating in the Veterans Day Car Show at the American Legion Southway Post 144 on Sunday. 

This was Big Dawg and the C-Town Cruisers last show for 2018.

Big Dawg told me the Cruisers already have 19 events lined up for next year including the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival.  This is a good sign that 2019 will be another big year for car events in Central Ohio. 

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Another weekend of car shows was dampened by rain and the addition of cold temperatures.

Rain started falling around 6 PM Friday evening at the Creative Towing/Advanced Auto Parts show in Marysville, Ohio.  By 7 PM it was coming down hard enough to force an early finish to the show.

With the threat of rain in the forecast and temperatures barely in the 50s, the show only registered 22 cars. Several cars left early once the rain started to fall.

Here are this month's award winners: 

Despite the bad weather, the show managed to raise $75 for the local food pantry.

There's one more Creative Towing/Advanced Auto Parts show on the schedule for November 9th, weather permitting.

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As I indicated in last week's Upcoming Events, I was out-of-town this past weekend attending a family reunion. Special thanks to Jeff and Pam Shankle who graciously jumped in for me and sent reports from the three events they attended over the weekend.

Der Dutchman:

After being literally washed out the previous week, the Der Dutchman Restaurant cruise-in in Plain City, Ohio was back in business on Thursday. While no new attendance record was set, the cruise-in continued strong participation with 141 cars.

Here are some cars I don't remember seeing at prior cruise-ins.

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The Rod Knockers Car Club registered more than 100 vehicles for their May show at the Rural King in Marion, Ohio.

As always, the show attracts a lot of great vehicles from around the area.  There's always good participation from the Marysville, Delaware and, of course, Marion areas.

One thing I love about going to car shows is discovering something different and unique. This month it was a 1978 Cadillac "flower" car.At first, I thought the car had been modified by the owner but later was told there are several aftermarket companies that purchase factory vehicles and modify them to be used to transport flowers for funeral services.

I got a kick out of seeing a drain in the back of flower bed.

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