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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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This will be the last BIG Saturday of events for the 2021 season. The number of events starts to taper off after this weekend. This weekend will also mark the "unofficial" start to the Trunk or Treat season so get those Halloween costumes and candy ready.

CLICK HERE to skip the News and Notes section and go directly to the list of events.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Der Dutchman Cruise-in:

Here's my final word on the Der Dutchman Cruise-in for this year. The banquet was this past Thursday. During the banquet, Wayne Nisly who manages the cruise-in pointed out that the cruise-in registered more than 2900 cars this summer. It sure has come a long way from the 18 cars that showed up the very first time I attended the cruise-in back in 2013.

Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts Store:

This month's Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts show in Marysville, Ohio registered 20 cars on Friday evening. The show raised $144 for the Marysville and Milford Center Food Pantries.

Here are the manager's picks (click to enlarge):

LaRue Fall Bang Car Show:

The town of LaRue, Ohio held its Fall Bang Festival this past Friday and Saturday. For the first time, the Festival included a car show on Friday evening. The show registered between 35 and 40 cars. The organizers hope to make it an annual event.

To see more from the Fall Bang Car Show, CLICK HERE.

Performance Charity Car Show:

The Performance Charity Car Show in downtown Delaware, Ohio was originally scheduled for July 17 but because of weather forecasts calling for all-day showers (which didn't happen by the way), it was rescheduled to this past Saturday. As it turned out, it was a good call. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for a car show.

I predicted the show would be the biggest event of the weekend in Central Ohio and I was spot on. The show registered 460 cars. Counting those cars that showed up but didn't register, there were more than 500 cars during the afternoon in downtown Delaware on Saturday.

The show presented awards to the top 100 cars along with 20 Best of Show trophies. My unofficial "Early Bird" or "Are You Crazy" award goes to Sam and Barbara Parks. They arrived in the dark before Sandusky Street was even closed which was scheduled for 6 AM! The longest distance traveled was a car from South Carolina.

The Best of Show award went to Sherman and Austin Buck and their 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner:

Here are a few other winners:

Not pictured:

  • Best Pontiac - 1959 Pontiac Safare Wagon -Owner: Curtis Conklin
  • Best Buick - 1970 Buick GSX - Owner: Jeff Fortner

The October date proved to be so successful it was announced the show will be scheduled in October again next year.

Check out the Performance Charity PHOTO PAGE for a ton more cars, trucks, and bikes from the show.

Marysville Car Meet:

Between 75 and 80 cars showed up at the old Kroger parking lot in Marysville, Ohio for a Sunday afternoon car meet. It was definitely a younger crowd. Mustangs were the popular model of the day. There were a few Camaros and Corvettes and a couple of vehicles you don't see every day.

Other Area Shows:

  • The Hebron Nazarene Car and Truck Show registered 111 cars on Saturday. The 1959 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman belonging to Jesse and Kaylee Bickel took the Best of Show honors.
  • Seventy-six cars turned out for the Danville Memorial Park Car Show on Sunday.

Special thanks to Mark and Cathy Krist, Dan Varner, Dale Pearce, and Jeff Shankle for helping make this week's report.


There are still a few events being announced for October and November. For the most up-to-date list of car events in Central Ohio through the end of the season, check out the Save the Dates for 2021 page.


If you'd like to be notified by email when a new posting appears, click the Subscribe link at the top of the page. This is a non-profit website. Rest assured your email address will NEVER be sold to marketers. There's no risk of more spam mail in your inbox if you subscribe.


Monday (October 11):

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Tuesday (October 12):

Wednesday (October 13):

Thursday (October 14):

Friday (October 15):

Saturday (October 16):

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A few weekly cruise-ins have dropped off the schedule, however, this weekend and next still have a full slate of events. Things will begin to wind down in October.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Der Dutchman:

The Der Dutchman Cruise-in experienced another good week of attendance with 287 cars Thursday evening. Two outstanding cars, a 1940 Woody wagon that won best of show at the Zucchinifest and West Jefferson Ox Roast last week, and a 50's Cadillac paid a visit this week.

Only three more cruise-ins left for this year. If you haven't made it to one yet, time is starting to run out.

Speaking of Der Dutchman, they will hold their Coffee and Donuts Cruise-in this Saturday morning. It's a great excuse to enjoy a cup of coffee, one of their famous long John donuts and hang out with your car buddies.

Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts Car Show:

After battling rain the previous two months, The Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts Car Show in Marysville, Ohio finally got a descent evening of weather.

Forty-two cars showed up Friday evening for the monthly show with 35 of them registering. The show raised $180 for the Milford Center and Marysville food pantries.

This month the manager of Advanced Auto Parts selected the following four cars for awards.

Empty Pockets Cruisers Patriots Day Car Show:

The Empty Pockets Cruisers held their Patriots Day Car Show on Saturday at the Hilliard Community Center in Hilliard, Ohio.

This was the club's third show of the season and the first time hosting a show at the Hilliard Community center. Normally the club hosts three shows a season but in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 they added this extra show.

The Community center turned out to be a nice venue for a car show. There was plenty of parking, clean restrooms and some shade if you wanted it. The club reached out to large number of food trucks but only two showed up on Saturday. I overheard some people complaining that the service from both trucks was a little slow.

The club registered 134 cars and presented 50 awards. The special awards at this event included Most Patriotic, First Responders Choice, Sponsors Choice, DJ's Choice, and Best of Show.

Best of Show award went to Dean and LuAnn Mafsenbacher and their 1953 Chevy 3100 pickup. The Mafsenbacher's truck also took the Best of Show honors at the Empty Pockets Armed Forces Day show in May.

All in all it was another great event put on by the Empty Pockets Cruisers. The club's final show of the season will be their annual Trunk or Treat event, one of my favorites, on October 16.

If you'd like to see more from the Patriots Day Show, CLICK HERE.

Ohio Corvette Club Alliance Corvette Gathering:

On Sunday I had the opportunity to participate in my very first Corvette Gathering in downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

The Gathering is put on by the Alliance of Corvette clubs from around the state of Ohio. It pretty much amounts to a big cruise-in for Corvettes. There's no judging or awards. For the $15 registration fee, you received a nice participation plaque and a raffle ticket for door prizes. The event also included a silent auction. Vendors were there selling Corvette related paraphernalia. After skipping last year because of Covid, this was the 16th year for the Corvette Gathering.

The Alliance registered 310 Corvettes, however, it was closer to 360 that participated. West Main Street in the historic district of downtown Lancaster is where the event is held. The street is closed between S. Columbus Street and S. High Street. There's a nice hill to climb as you walk towards S. High Street.

The newer Corvettes pretty much dominated the Gathering. Someone told me they only counted about 25 Corvettes from 1970 and older. I think there was more than that but the newer Corvettes were definitely in abundance. I saw quite a few out-of-state cars. The farthest away someone traveled that I saw was South Dakota.

If you like Corvettes and want to spend a relaxing day shooting the breeze with other Corvette owners, the Corvette Gathering is the place to be.

CLICK HERE to see a bunch of Corvettes from the Gathering.

Motts Military Driving for Daisy Car Show:

The Pepsi's Auto Smarts Radio Cruise and Ride crew were at the Motts Military Museum in Groveport, Ohio on Sunday for the Motts Military Driving for Daisy Car Show.

The show registered around 100 cars. The Best of Show award went to Jim Bickel and his 1969 AMC AMX. Dale Pearce and his 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup took Best Truck.

CLICK HERE for more scenes from the Motts Military Driving Daisey show.

Other Area Car Shows:

I received word that the Street Elite Corvette Club's Charitable Open Car Show in Sunbury, Ohio on Saturday registered 160 cars. If anyone knows who took Best of Show, please post in the comments.

UPDATE: Sam Parks and his 1948 Chevy Pickup took the Best of Show award.

I'm told the turnout on Sunday for the All Ohio Ford Show at the Pastime Park in Plain City, Ohio was not very good. By 1 PM only 35-40 cars had registered. I understand there was no food or drink available. Very disappointing for a show with a $20 registration fee.

I want to again thank Dave Bratton and Jeff Shankle for sending information and photos on the shows they attending this weekend. It's great to have eyes, ears and cameras at the shows I'm unable to attend.


Events are still coming in for September, October, and November. For the most up-to-date list of car events in Central Ohio from now through November, check out the Save the Dates for 2021 page.


If you'd like to be notified by email when a new posting appears, click the Subscribe link at the top of the page. This is a non-profit website. Rest assured your email address will NEVER be sold to marketers. There's no risk of more spam mail in your inbox if you subscribe.


Monday (September 13):

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Tuesday (September 14):

Wednesday (September 15):

Thursday (September 16):

Friday (September 17):

Saturday (September 18):

Sunday (September 19):

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Central Ohio Forecast
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The big event this week is the 38th Annual Arthritis Foundation Classic Auto Show on Friday and Saturday in Dublin, Ohio.

NEWS AND NOTES:

Der Dutchman:

The 40 cars or so that showed up at Der Dutchman on Thursday evening were treated to a 20 minutes downpour around 5 PM. With more rain threatening the area, the raffle drawing started at 6 PM instead of the usual 7:30 PM.

Creative Automotive/Advanced Auto Parts Show:

A Camaro and a Mustang received awards Friday evening at the monthly Creative Automotive/Advance Auto Parts Show in Marysville, Ohio. The show raised $45 for the Milford Center Trinity Chapel Food Pantry.

Buckeye Cruzin':

On Saturday, more than 125 vehicles registered for Buckeye Cruzin' at Ohio Stadium. Registration was $175. All of it went to Buckeye Cruise for Cancer - a very worthy cause as almost everyone has had cancer touch someone in their family.

Every car that registered got a photo taken of it in front of the rotunda on the north end of the stadium. Registrants were treated to a VIP breakfast provided by Porsche Columbus. There were several food trucks and a refueling station to keep everyone fed and hydrated.

The Triple F brought an assortment of exotic cars from their collection. I got to see a Pagani Huayra BC Macchina Volante in person. Say that five times in a row fast. Only 20 of them were produced at a selling price of $2.6 million each.

It was a great experience until several cars decided to rev engines. It's one thing to do a couple of quick revs but to continue it for 20+ minutes is a little much. One of the cars was behind my Corvette so every time the engine revved it blew black smoke at my car. I finally had enough and left. I hope the organizers put a stop to the revving next year. I will certainly point it out to them should I get the opportunity to do a post-event evaluation. Tell me what you think in the comments. Am I being too much of a "Debbie Downer" or does engine revving at car events annoy you too?

To see a bunch more cars from Buckeye Cruzin', click here.

Blendon Senior Center Car Show:

The Blendon Senior Center in Westerville, Ohio registered 76 cars for their show on Saturday. Food and refreshments were included in the cost of registration. Awards were presented to the top three vehicles in each of five categories - the 1940s and older, the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s and newer.

Our friend, Dave Bratton, and his 1937 Ford convertible received the Best of Show award. Not only did Dave get a trophy but he also received a cash prize as well.

Click Here, for more photos from the Blendon Senior Center Car Show

2021 Tomatofest Car Meet:

More than 120 cars turned out for the Tomatofest Car Meet at Huber park on Saturday. The show, hosted by the C-Town Cruisers, was part of the 2021 Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival.

David Oiler took Best of Show honors with a 1935 Chevy Master Deluxe. The Best Truck award went to Josh Hiles with a 1968 Chevy C-10.

Obetz Nazarene Church Car Show:

Dan "Boots" Longenette and Pepsi's Auto Smarts Radio Cruise and Ride Tour made a stop at the Obetz Nazarene Church on Saturday. The show registered approximately 50 cars and raised $600 for the church.

The Pastor's Choice/Best of Show award went to Brian Spangler and his 1956 Mercury Montclair.

Cars and Cones Ice Cream Cruise-in:

Fifty plus cars showed up Sunday afternoon in the parking lot behind the Coldstone Creamy on Polaris Parkway in Columbus, Ohio. Everyone enjoyed the comradery with friends, the cooler temperatures, and of course, the ice cream.