A few years ago, while attending a Nikko’s Red Mill tavern car show in Woodstock, the host DJ and emcee Tony Ramos told me he had a new idea for summertime collector car show: hosting car meets at senior assisted living communities and retirement complexes.
Since he recently had become a senior citizen himself, he noticed a large percentage of spectators attending his shows were seniors. Many told him it was getting difficult to attend a cruise night or car show because they no longer could drive themselves and it was hard to find a relative willing to take them to a show. If they could find someone to take them, many times the person didn’t have an interest in “vintage tin.”
Tony tried his idea last year at an assisted living community in Bartlett and it turned out great. A nice number of collector cars attended the show and the seniors loved looking at so many cars from their youth on display, all shiny and looking as if they had just rolled out of the factory.
With the first show under his belt, Ramos moved the show closer to home, Huntley. He spoke with Marketing Director Kathleen Biron at Heritage Woods & White Oaks at Huntley Assisted Living & Memory Care Community, 1450 Regency Parkway, in Huntley.
After a few meetings, the plan for the inaugural Heritage Woods Assisted Living Community Car Show was set: the show would be July 29 and would provide a free lunch for collector car participants.
I was number 17 to pull my ’32 Ford highboy street rod roadster into the event.
Tons of previous experience does make a big difference in getting a new show off on the right foot. Ramos brought in Mary Ann Urban, a Northern Illinois Street Rod Association member with knowledge of what it takes to run a successful car show. Urban, a true “car girl” who owns a 1969 Mustang GT “California Special” and a 1969 Chevy Camaro, was assigned to be the official greeter and parking coordinator.
Heritage Woods offered plenty of volunteers who registered cars, counted ballots to help choose winners for the show’s trophies and organized the door prize giveaways.
When the collector cars attending the show finally stopped pulling in around 11 a.m., the final count was 67 stunning looking vintage cars and pickup trucks. A respectable turnout for a first-time show. The weather, for once in many weeks, was beautiful with temps in the 80s and gorgeous sun-filled skies. It did not rain until well after the show was over at 3 p.m.
My hat is off to Ramos for his idea. I really enjoyed the day talking to seniors, who, by the way, are my peers. They all knew the various makes and model of cars on display, and often they had a story to go with so many of the 1950s models that filled the parking lot. These sort of stories always puts a big smile on everyone’s faces. I’ll be at the show again next year, ready to listen to more car stories from my peers.
Upcoming car shows
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8: 10th annual Meadowdale, Motorsports & Memories Car Show at Raceway Woods in Carpentersville. For information, visit www.mirpa.org.
• 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9: Walneck’s Woodstock Car & Motorcycle “Swap Meet.” This is a brand new swap meet and will be held at the McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock. For information, call Buzz Walneck at 630-985-2097.
• Aug. 18: 10th annual Woodstock on the Square benefit car show. For information, call 815-338-5108.
• Aug. 19: Gary Lang Car Show. Probably the largest and best collector car show in McHenry county year in and year out. For information, visit www.garylangautogroup.com.