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Yarmouth's Classic Car Show proves to be another huge attraction since its big move


A view of the Classic Car Show in downtown Yarmouth on July 14 taken from atop of Yarmouth Fire Department's aerial ladder. CHAD HERSEY PHOTO
A view of the Classic Car Show in downtown Yarmouth on July 14 taken from atop of Yarmouth Fire Department's aerial ladder. CHAD HERSEY PHOTO

YARMOUTH, N.S. – It’s hard to believe this event used to be held in a parking lot.

Once again there was a huge turnout of vehicles and people for the annual Classic Car Show held on Yarmouth’s Main Street as part of the Seafest festival.

Organized by the Roaring 20’s Antique Auto Club, this is the fifth year the show – featuring antique, classic and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles – has been held on Main Street and a growing number of side streets. The show ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 14 and runs again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 15.

This is the first year a second day has been added to the car show.

Organizers said on Saturday there were around 550 vehicles being showcased in the show. They were hoping similar numbers on Sunday but said with this being the first year for the extra day they’d have to wait and see where the numbers settle. But so far they were very happy with the numbers.

Also happy were those taking part in the event with their vehicles.

Kenneth ‘Bud’ Ritchie of South Ohio, Yarmouth County, was happy to chat with people on Main Street as they stopped to look at his 1930 Durant.

“I enjoy it,” he said about taking part in the car show. He’s had his vehicle for about 20 years.

“It works good,” he said, saying he traded another vehicle for it. “I fixed it up a little bit more for myself. Power steering. Power brakes.”

He said he tries to get out for a cruise with it at least once a week. He’s not apt to trade in this vehicle for another, though.

“I think I’ll go before the car. I’m older than the car,” he said laughing.

Parked a short distance away was Ray Connolly. He and the group he was traveling with had come a considerable distance to be here with their 1951 Chevrolet pickup. They came from Saint-Mathias, Quebec. Connolly said he had seen promotion about the car show through the hot rod group he’s involved in.

“We saw that and we had the big heat in Quebec. We ran away from the heat and the only place that I saw where the weather was great was here. So guess what?”

Here they are.

A view of the Classic Car Show in downtown Yarmouth on July 14 taken from atop of Yarmouth Fire Department's aerial ladder. CHAD HERSEY PHOTO
A view of the Classic Car Show in downtown Yarmouth on July 14 taken from atop of Yarmouth Fire Department's aerial ladder. CHAD HERSEY PHOTO

They’ve had the vehicle – a deep royal blue with a camper lift on it – for about 10 years. Connolly said what’s best about having an antique vehicle is the people you meet because of it.

“People come up to you, all kinds of people. It brings conversation, so you meet a lot of people,” he said. And a lot of friendly people, he said. He said in his travels he’s had people offer to help with parts if he’s needed them, with other people always willing to lend a hand in their travels.

Connolly said they were having a lot of fun at the show and he liked the setup, with people mingling on the street and the businesses nearby.

They also took part in the Friday evening Classic Car Cruise by the Sea. He said he was amazed by the number of people lining the sides of the streets to watch the vehicles go by.

The Roaring 20s Antique Auto Club said 390 vehicles took part in the car cruise.

Seated on the sidewalk on Saturday watching the crowd, alongside his 1969 Chevelle Malibu was Paul Robicheau, one of the organizers with the antique auto club the first year the show was moved to Main Street. He’s still blown away by the success of the move, thinking back to the days the event used to take place in the parking lot of the Yarmouth Mall and then at the Mariners Centre.

“When we first started we didn’t really know what we were doing, but we got it going and we set it up in such a way that it’s still running,” he said, adding what is great to see is the younger generation of car buffs and club members stepping up and continuing to organize and run with the show, The show has grown considerably since first making its move to the downtown in 2014 when 221 vehicles were showcased.

“It’s hard to believe,” he says, comparing the show now to what it used to be decades ago and how much bigger it’s gotten and the number of people – both spectators and participants – it now attracts.
People like Barry Barnett who made the trip from Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia, to take part in his fourth car show here.

“It’s great – right on the street where the businesses are. It’s a good show. The people are great. The cars are great,” he said, as he did a bit of shining and cleaning under the hood of his 1968 Chev C10 Sidestep Texas Farm Truck. He said he’s part of a group of people who travel together to car shows. “We go to PEI on Canada Day weekend and then to Moncton and then here. Then we take a week off and then go to more shows.”

Barnett said he gets his antique vehicles – yes, plural – out a fair amount. He also owns a 1965 Impala, so he rotates between the two vehicles. That, of course, begs the question – Is it hard to decide which one you’re taking to the car shows?

“You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is,” he said, saying sometimes it causes him to bring in reinforcements. “Sometimes I take both of them. Last weekend in Moncton I had a friend of mine drive one up.”

Barnett, a former Nova Scotian provincial politician who used to be a minister with several departments during the John Hamm and Rodney MacDonald governments, says he’s always enjoyed owning older vehicles.

“I enjoy working on them more than everything. It's so different than anything I do for a living,” he says, noting aside from his time in government he also runs an ATV association.

BELOW IS A FACEBOOK LIVE THAT NEWSROOM REPORTER CARLA ALLEN FILMED ON JULY 14:

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