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17

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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2

We close out another month of the season this week. Lots of events are on tap for the Fourth of July weekend. The big event will be the Firecracker July 4th Show in Urbana, Ohio. It will draw between 400 and 700 cars depending on the weather.

NEWS AND NOTES:

The First Friday event in downtown Delaware, Ohio is reserving the same block again this weekend for classic cars. Cars are asked to arrive between 5 PM and 6 PM. No cars will be allowed in after 6 PM, and no cars will be allowed to leave prior to 9 PM. This is first come first serve so if you're interested in participating, get there early.

The cruise-in at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, Ohio had another big Thursday evening. Close to 60 Cobras from the Cobra Show in London, Ohio showed up at the cruise-in. Overall attendance for the evening topped 390 cars.

To see more photos from Thursday's Der Dutchman Cruise-In, click Here.

Dan "Boots" Longenette and the Auto Smart Radio crew hosted the first-ever car show at The Point at Otterbein in Westerville, Ohio on Saturday. The show registered 57 cars.

One of the unique things offered by The Point was a canvas print of your vehicle from a favorite photo for $20. Our good friend, Dale Pearce, took advantage of the offer and had a print made of his truck. The end result turned out fantastic.

The Best of Show Award went to Jeff Fortner and his 1971 Buick GSX. Jeff's Buick has been on a "Hot Steak" lately. This is the third week in a row his car has received a well deserved top award.

If you've ever been to an Auto Smarts Radio show, you know Boots gives out a lot of "Category" awards. Click here to see some of the "Category" winners from the show.

Here are attendance numbers for some of the other area shows from this past weekend.

  • Surgergrove (Friday) - registered 80 cars
  • Marengo Methodist Church (Saturday) - registered 43 cars
  • Whitehall Church of the Nazarene (Sunday) - registered 60 cars.

Events are still filling in for July, August, September, and October. For the most comprehensive list of future car events in Central Ohio, check out the Save the Dates for 2021 page.


Monday (June 28):

  • No events found

Tuesday (June 29):

Wednesday (June 30):

Thursday (July 1):

Friday (July 2):

Saturday (July 3):

Sunday (July 4):

Other Resources
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We start the fourth month of the season this week. Two car shows in Marion, Ohio and two Columbus Cars and Coffee meets highlight this weeks list of events.

NEWS AND NOTES:

The weather during the first part of the Memorial day weekend played havoc with a number of events. Several were canceled or postponed. Those events that did brave the rain and cold temperatures obviously had less turn out than expected.

One of those shows that braved the weather on Saturday was Pepsi’s Auto Smarts Cruise and Ride at Ten Pin Alley in Hilliard, Ohio. Our friend Dale Pearce and his 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck took the Best of Show award.

With improving weather on Sunday, the Moonshine Festival Car, Truck and Bike Show in New Straitsville, Ohio registered 83 vehicles. The car show associated with the swap meet in Springfield, Ohio had 45-50 cars in attendance.

With almost Ideal weather by Monday, Big Dawg and the C-Town Cruisers registered 120 cars at the American Legion Southway Post 144 Memorial Day Meet in Columbus. A lot of cars showed up at the event but didn’t register. By all guestimates there may have been close to 200 cars at the Southway Post Monday afternoon.

The Best of Show award went to Kevin Foust and his 1941 Dodge WC 40.


Just when you thought June couldn’t get any busier, four more events were announced last week. This makes the total number of June events in Central Ohio at 47 right now not counting the on going shows and cruise-ins.

To see ALL the June events on the calendar and the rest of the year, head on over to The Save the Dates for 2021 page.

Tuesday (June 1):

Wednesday (June 2):

Thursday (June 3):

Friday (June 4):

Saturday (June 5):

Sunday (June 6):

Other Resources
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2

There's a little more local activity this week. For those of you who can't wait until the weekend to get your car show fix, good news, you're going to start seeing events on weekdays from now until October.

NEWS AND NOTES:

I didn't attend the pre-cruise-in dinner at Der Dutchman in Plain City on Thursday, but I heard attendance was very good.

Shannon Rusell's car was parked under the canopy in front of the restaurant to honor him. Shannon recently passed away. He was a regular attendee of the cruise-in from the very beginning. I'm sure many of you will recognize his car. He will be missed.

The Car and Bike Show at Tony's Bar and Grille Friday evening in London, Ohio was the only judged show in the area this past weekend. The show registered more than 50 cars. This 1959 Corvette took Best of Show honors.

A bunch of events were announced last week and added to the Save the Dates for 2021 page. Check out the page for the most comprehensive list of upcoming car events in Central Ohio.

Wednesday (April 28):

Thursday (April 29):

  • No Events Found

Friday (April 30):

Saturday (May 1):

Sunday (May 2):

Other Resources
Rube's Cruisin' News - 614-274-6008

Central Ohio Forecast
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I always consider the first weekend in April the “official” start of the Central Ohio car show season. Some may argue it starts in March but I consider those March events to be more like a Preseason.

Here is the first weekly list of Central Ohio events for the 2021 season. These weekly lists will be posted on Monday or Tuesday from now until the end of November. If you would like to receive email notification when the list is posted, please click the “Subscribe” link in the page header above. Rest assured, we DO NOT sell email addresses to marketers so you won’t get more spam mail if you subscribe.

News and Notes:

On Friday evening, both the inaugural Marysville Muscle Cruise-In and Spring Car and Bike Show at Tony’s Bar and Grill in London, Ohio had good turn outs for early season shows.

The Spring show in London registered around 45 vehicles. The Best of Show award went to this Ghost Busters themed Dodge Challenger.

Due to the recent behavior of some attendees, the organizers of Cars and Coffee at Lennox Town Center have decided to CANCEL the Saturday morning meets indefinitely. They hope to be back in the fall with new plans. Here’s their Facebook post. There’s always some bad actors that spoil the fun for everyone.

For a comprehensive list of Central Ohio shows and cruise-ins through the end of the year, check out the Save the Dates for 2021 page. The page is updated almost daily as more and more shows are announced.

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

  • Easter Sunday. No Events Found

Other Resources
Rube's Cruisin' News - 614-274-6008

Central Ohio Forecast
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46/30°F

10

Not much on the agenda for this coming weekend. Most everything has been canceled. I've reached out to both the RoundTown Cruisers and Boy Scout Troop 382 to confirm the status of their events. As of this posting, neither organization has gotten back to me.

UPDATE: Contacted the president of the Roundtown Cruisers. Their cruise-in for this Friday has been canceled.

News and Notes:

This past weekend saw the return of a couple of "traditional" car events. I stopped by the Marysville Car Meet on Sunday. I estimate somewhere between 150 and 200 vehicles showed up during the afternoon. Here are some of the photos I took at the meet.

Big Dawg and the C-Town Cruisers hosted their first show of the season at the Point On Main Street Sports Bar & Grill. The show registered 78 cars, however, more than 100 cars turned out for the event. Best of Show went to Steve Beal and his 1951 Chevy Suburban.

On the way home from Marysville, I happened to drive by some members of the AMMO (All Modern Mopars of Ohio) who were having a "mini cruise-in" at the LaScala Restaurant on 161. The club members had just finished participating in a graduation cruise. I took a few minutes to stop and introduce myself.

Goodguy PPG Nations: With the 2020 Ohio State Fair officially canceled, I called Goodguys last week for an update on the status of the PPG Nationals. The woman I spoke to stated that as of this time the event is still on. She said contractually the Ohio Expo Center must give Goodguys 30 days notice if they cannot host the event at the Fairgrounds. I was told to check back again around June 10th for a more definitive answer on the status of the event.

A few events were added this week to the Save the Dates for 2020 page. Check out this page for an updated list of future events, cancellations, and postponements.


Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

Other Resources
Rube's Cruisin' News - 614-274-6008

Central Ohio Forecast
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43/41°F
55/55°F
64/28°F
46/30°F

UPDATE: I did get confirmation that the Knox Cars & Coffee Season Opener has been canceled. The Marysville Car Meet has been postponed until May 9th.

I promised to start the weekly Upcoming Events posts in April and I am a man of my word.

As you can see, a number of events scheduled for this weekend have been canceled or postponed as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown. I have reached out to the Knox Cars & Coffee and the Marysville Car Meet folks to confirm the status of their events. As of this writing, I have not heard back from either group. If you have any information about these meets, please post the info in the comments section.

If you do decide to venture out to either event (assuming they're still on), please use common sense and keep the recommended distance from other people.

Check out the Save the Dates for 2020 page for a list of future events that will hopefully take place once the spread of the virus slows and social distancing guidelines are relaxed.

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

Other Resources
Rube's Cruisin' News - 614-274-6008

Central Ohio Forecast
25°
Cloudy
7:41am5:06pm EST
WedThuFriSatSun
39/23°F
43/41°F
55/55°F
64/28°F
46/30°F

9

Now that the 2019 Central Ohio car show season has officially come to an end, it's time to take a look back at what was good, what was bad and what was ugly.

I managed to participate in 80 events this year. When you consider there were five weeks during 2019 where I didn't participate in any events, that's a pretty big accomplishment, even if I do say so myself.

I traveled more than 3000 miles to attend events in Centerburg, Columbus, Delaware, Dublin, Gahanna, Hilliard, Johnstown, Lewis Center, Lockbourne, Marion, Marysville, New Albany, Obetz, Plain City, Powell, Springfield, Westerville, and Worthington.

Throughout the season, I took more than 9200 photos of cars, trucks, and motorcycles from around Central Ohio. Besides my car, Kevin Martin's 1962 Chevy pickup truck wins the award for the most photographed vehicle in 2019.

Before I get deep into the recap of this season, let me take a second to make the usual disclaimer:

The lists I'm about to present reflect my opinion and my opinion only of the events I attended in 2019. If you attended a show or cruise-in not on my list that you thought was exceptionally good, bad or ugly, please feel free to share it in the comments. Also, feel free to post a comment if you agree or disagree with any of my choices.

Okay, let's start with the GOOD.

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18

For the second week in a row, several cars received double awards. This time it was at the Heart of Ohio USA Days Car Show in Centerburg, Ohio.

The show presented metal signs to the Top 100 cars along with four special awards.

Two of the special award winners also received Top 100 awards. As I've said many times before, giving cars multiple awards is a great way to kill future attendance at your show.

And speaking of attendance, the event on Sunday registered 250 vehicles.

That's down from 387 last year but not bad considering there was a discussion at last year's award presentation that the 2018 show might be the last. I know flyers for this year's show didn't appear until the middle of August, less than a month before the event.

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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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