Mother nature will have something to compete with in the splendor department for one afternoon.
John Boyd Thacher State Park in New Scotland is revving up for its fourth annual “Wheels in the Woods” car show on Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pear Orchard Picnic Area. Classic rides, specialty cars and tuners will be (hopefully) glimmering under the sunlight. Thompson’s Lake Reformed Church will offer food and refreshments during the event, with a DJ playing some classic tunes.
“When you have the nice weather and all the cars out, everybody is in a good mood and I love seeing people up here and enjoying themselves at the park,” Park Manager Chris Fallon said.
The idea for the car show formed during a brainstorming session of events the park could host, Fallon said.
“We were just kind of looking for something different that might attract some people up to the park,” he said. “The idea of the car show came up and we all thought it sounded like a good idea.”
To help promote and spread the word, the park tapped Jason Rittner, a local car enthusiast who regularly attends car shows.
“I had been involved in a couple other ones before, so I figured I could help out,” Rittner said. “They need publicity and they need ads and it is hard for us to do from a park level and my level.”
Rittner said he enjoys hosting the event, but is also happy to help the park.
“It just brings awareness that there is more going on at the park than just having a picnic and leaving,” he said.
Rittner said he started down the path of becoming a car enthusiast after purchasing his first car, a $70 Dodge Aspen. The starter blew on the car and he stopped at a garage near his school to get it fixed.
The mechanic said it would cost around $150 to replace or he could “man up and go to a junkyard and put it in” himself. Rittner did just that, getting a starter for $20 and putting it in himself.
Rittner, now 40 years old, said he has owned more than 70 cars at “various stages of repairs.” Many he has fixed up and sold, with others being sold as-is.
“It is the thrill of the chase,” he said. “I enjoy going to these shows and knowing all of these people have done the exact same thing.”
Rittner and Fallon agreed turnout was affected by weather at last year’s event. Fallon said the first year was a “real good start,” with more than 50 cars and the sun shining.
“The last couple of years it has been on the rainy side so it was not as well attended and not as many participants, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for nice weather,” Fallon said. “We are also trying to avoid other shows in the area on the same day.”
There will be awards given to the top 10 people’s choice award winners, Rittner said, with attendees selecting their top five picks. A little reward will be given to each winner.
“The quality of the cars that are up here is fantastic,” Fallon said. “They have the classic models and everyone has the hoods up and the engine blocks are incredibly clean. There are a lot of neat features and old style cars.”
Families can also check out Thacher’s new playground at the picnic area that opened this spring. The former playground was of an older style, with a climbing dome and swing set, Fallon said. The new playground is of plastic construction with slides and climbing features. Recycled rubber chips were used as the new surface material.
For cars, there is a $10 fee for pre-registration, with it costing $13 the day of the event. There is not a cut off year for cars entering the event. For any questions about early registration, contact the park at 872-1237.