Yarmouth Car Show has become a roaring success
More than 600 cars and thousands of people expected at this weekend's event
Even in his wildest dreams, Paul Robicheau didn't think a car event in Yarmouth could get this big.
Robicheau has been a member of the Roaring 20s Antique Auto Club since the early 1970s. For years he's participated in show-and-shine events, club drives and other activities. About five years ago he and other club members approached the town with an idea to move their annual car show downtown, thinking it could have promise.
They had no idea how right they were.
Today marks the fifth year the event featuring antique, classic and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles will spread up and down Main Street and several side streets, with pedestrians able to walk among them through the heart of the downtown.
Last year, more than 600 vehicles were on display for what has become a two-day event. An estimated 10,000 people filled the downtown throughout each of those days.
"I guess it amazes us, too, to see that many people," said Robicheau, whose current collection includes a 1930 Oldsmobile Roadster, 1983 Mustang convertible and a 1969 Chevelle convertible.
"It's a disease," he jokes. "I just love cars."
He also loves the way the club, which has 40 official members, and the annual car show bring together so many people. People like Stan and Kathy Ellis.
Twenty-eight years ago Stan Ellis paid $500 for a worn-out 1964 VW commercial Kombi bus. For the next 25 years it collected rust and dirt in a barn, but two years ago he pulled it out of the barn — along with the rust and dirt — to put in the car show for the first time.
For the last two years he's worked to restore the bus and this year it will be on display in tip-top condition.
"I just love working on it," Ellis said before a Friday morning drive with Robicheau and about a dozen other car owners.
The event has become a great thing for the community, he said.
"It's quite something for a small town to have such a nice variety of vehicles and the general public, I think, really enjoy it."
Local businesses like it, too.
Big economic benefits
Patti Durkee will have her own car in the show this weekend — a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 sedan — but as a municipal councillor she's also keenly aware of the economic benefits an event such as this can bring to an area.
Show organizers are hoping the event can continue to grow the way the Wharf Rat Rally has in Digby for motorcycle enthusiasts, she said.
"The economic spinoffs are amazing," said Durkee. "In fact, people can't get hotel rooms for this weekend. You have to book this a year in advance in order to get a room."
With cars expected from across the Maritimes and as far away as Quebec and New England, Durkee said organizers will keep finding space for an event they hope continues to grow.