Annual event includes parade, seminars, live music, more
Rev up your engines and head on to York this weekend. And, don’t be alarmed if it looks like you traveled back in time.
As you drive through York, expect to see thousands of street rods, muscle cars, custom cars, trucks and specialty vehicles — each manufactured at least 30 years ago — converge on the York Expo Center for the 42nd annual Street Rod Nationals East Plus.
With about 4,000 cars and trucks expected to attend, this annual show is the region’s largest street rod, street machine and custom car show, according to a news release. The vehicles, which each include modern chassis features, are worth more than $112 million total.
Cars will be on display for public viewing throughout the weekend, special events director Jerry Kennedy said.
“The thing people don’t realize is how many of these vehicles are … being premiered at this event,” he said.
About one third of the vehicles will make their Street Rod Nationals debut this year. But some people, like Bob and Linda Kuhn, have attended every year since 1980 when the event was first held in York.
The Hanover couple owns a sunset pearl 1940 Chevy coupe, which they said they’ve driven as far as Florida, Wisconsin and Canada.
“When we go somewhere, we drive it,” Linda Kuhn said. “To me, that’s part of the fun. If you’re going to have a car, drive it and use it and enjoy it.”
In past years, this Chevy coupe has won the Bowtie Alley award for being the best Chevy at Street Rod Nationals.
But aside from awards and viewing rare cars, guests at Street Rod Nationals can shop for specialty equipment from more than 130 manufacturers and participate in a variety of other activities, including games, a model car contest, charity auction and more.
“There’s something for everybody,” Kennedy said. “It’s indeed a unique event. Once a person comes out and sees it up close and personal, I think they’ll agree.” FOR A PHOTO GALLERY, CHECK HERE
Here are some of the highlights.
Street Rod Parade
If you’re not attending Street Rod Nationals, the parade is your chance to see some of the street rods up close. At noon on Friday, 125 cars will line up at the Market Street Gate and process past Memorial Hall, through the square downtown and back, Central Pennsylvania representative for NSRA Randy Davis said. During the parade, the cars will be judged in several categories. Awards will be presented Sunday.
Pinstripe Jamboree & Charity Auction
Artists will pinstripe, airbrush and hand-letter pre-painted panels and other unique items at the second Pinstripe Jamboree from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in Memorial Hall West. The items will be auctioned off to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Last year, the auction raised $12,500, Kennedy said.
Learn about electronic transmissions, how to buff your car, how to do basic auto wiring and more at seminars held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Gather around the stage Friday night for a rock ‘n’ roll concert. Rockabilly and Buddy Holly tribute band The Rave-Ons will perform from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The band is made up of cast members from the national tour for the musical, “Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story,” according to The Rave-Ons’ website. This will be the band’s second appearance at Street Rod Nationals.
“It’s the first time we rehired a band to come back,” Davis said. “Nobody (usually) stays (at the fairgrounds) real late at night, but last year they did.”
Additional music will be provided throughout the weekend by DJ Wings Kalahan.
Streets of Rods
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, participants can enter their vehicles in several contests. Participants 29 and younger can enter their car in the “29 Below” contest; fenderless vehicles can enter “Hiboy Highway”; entries; 49-85 can enter “Late Great Way”; and entries with vanity license plates can participate in “Vanity PL8.”
These contests allow participants to share ideas with peers of similar ages and interests, Kennedy said. The vehicles in each category will also be on display for public viewing.
“It’s neat because you can take five cars that might be the same year and might be red, but when you park them up close, that’s the only thing they have in common because they’ve all been changed,” Kennedy said.
For the shoppers
Street rods aren’t your thing? Don’t worry. Arts and craft vendors will set up at Women’s World at Memorial Hall East from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. A quilt display will also be set up in the same area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. There will also be a tea in the dance area from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday and a shopping tour leaving from the bus stop in Area K at 10 a.m. Saturday.
For the children
No need to hire a babysitter for Street Rod Nationals. The event includes several kid-friendly activities. From 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, bring children to the games area where they can play Frisbee toss, ring toss, darts and other fun activities. Then, at 1:30 p.m., take the kids to Area T, where the first 75 participants will receive a free model car kit that they can make at the event and then take home.
Circle of Winners
See the award-winning street rods from this year’s event on display from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. An awards ceremony with prizes and a special NSRA Sunday SweepStakes giveaway will follow at 2 p.m. at the outdoor grandstand. More than $76,000 in prizes will be presented throughout the weekend.