Labor Day Car Show draws 123 vehicles to town

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BUCKHANNON — A day before rainy weather hit Buckhannon and Upshur County, the annual Labor Day Car Show went on under clear skies at North Buckhannon Riverfront Park Monday.
Blue skies and plenty of sunshine had attendees under canopies and seeking shelter under nearby trees and pavilions.  
“We are so happy we had a good day today because if you remember the Blast from the Past was a big rainout,” West Virginia Classic Wheels Car Club president Diane Kimble said. “But it happens.”
 “You just count your blessings when you have a good day,” she added. “We have had a lot of rainy weekends this season all over the place and that’s not good for car shows.”
Monday’s show had 123 cars registered in the early afternoon.
The show is chaired by car club member Jim Gifford and everyone in the club pitches in to help pull the show off each year, according to Kimble.
Gifford coordinates getting the trophies, T-shirts, dash plaques and donations and other members help out with registration and various tasks.
“Nobody has come up and complained which is a really good thing,” she said. “We really love  that D.J. Salty Dawg is available to come to deejay. It adds a lot to have the music.”
Sand Run Baptist Ladies Fellowship serves breakfast and lunch fare for sale and Dave Kelley conducted a live auction.
In between there were games and cake walks held to add to the fun.
Throughout the fun event there was still a reminder that one member of the club was missing.
“Every show we are doing this year especially, we are paying honor to Gib Smith who was one of our great club members who died in December 2016,” Kimble said. “We have his banner up again. He worked hard at every show and we are trying to honor him.”
Smith’s family including his wife, Sandra, are still members of the club and volunteered at the show Monday.
Proceeds from the show will go towards community projects the club undertakes each year.
“We try to really concentrate on anything that has to do with children, but we have helped people that have lost their homes, or are battling cancer and heart disease — whatever the need is we try to rise to the occasion,” Kimble said. “If we have to raise extra money, then we do something extra to raise more money.”
The show attracted many car club enthusiasts from around the area.
Rusty Beckman brought his 1956 Ford Fairlane Town and Country which he acquired after his friend and the vehicle’s previous owner Grady Smith passed away.
“This is all original and it’s never been retouched,” he said. “It’s never been repainted.”
Beckman acquired the car in 1999 and left the interior and exterior untouched, concentrating on replacing the brakes and other items to get the car back on the road.
Smith purchased the car for $2,850 in the 1950s from Wilson Sales Company in Fairmont.
“His family and my family knew each other and I have known this car ever since he bought it,” Beckman said.
Smith wanted Beckman to have the vehicle and passed away shortly afterwards.
“This car went to his funeral right behind the hearse,” Beckman said.
When it came to choosing a car to bring to Monday’s show, Beckman could have gone with three other antique cars.
“I’ve got a blue and white one just like this,” he said. “It’s a ’55 and this is a ’56. I have a ’57 Chevy and I have a ’65 Mercury convertible which I am giving my son.”
Beckman has been to the show before and is a member of the Over the Hill Kruzers and the Antique Automobile Club of America which began in Hershey, Pa. in 1935.
“I’ve been going to car shows most all my life,” he said.
Nearby, Donnie Batten, of Jane Lew, brought his 1952 Plymouth Coupe to the show.
“You don’t see many of these,” he said. “It’s rare.”
Batten said the vehicle had been restored with all new leather material inside. And outside, Batten decided to go against the crowd and chose a flat black paint.
“I thought I would go different with the flat black,” he said. “Everyone else has the gloss.”
Batten said he likes to go and support car shows as much as he can, especially those like Monday’s which support charity projects.
Burl Simers, of Grantsville, brought his 1967 Black Oldsmobile to the North Buckhannon Riverfront Park, noting it is an automatic and only 3,000 were made that year that were automatics.
He purchased it in 2009 from a friend who had rebuilt it.
Simers repainted the motor and did a few other upgrades but otherwise left it as redone by his friend, Robert Lydick, who passed away.
Simers said he had seen the ad for the car show from the Knights in Weston and decided to come out.
“I stopped by a couple years ago but this is the first time  I decided to be in it,” he said. “I like to see the different cars.”
Simers has had a good season this year, including a Best of Show win in Summersville.

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