Hot cars bring back memories
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 08:23 am
The loud rumbling of engines will reverberate off buildings throughout downtown Okotoks as hundreds of proud classic and vintage vehicle owners show off their pride and joy this weekend.
Hundreds of rebuilt, restored and souped-up cars and trucks from across western Canada and the northern United States will line streets and parking lots for the sixth annual Olde Towne Okotoks Show & Shine on Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Organizers of the event are changing things up this year with a ’60s rock-and-roll theme to salute unique vehicles of that decade.
“The ’60s was the beginning of the hot cars,” said Allan Stanley, a member of the non-profit show and shine committee. “That’s when the Mustangs came out and the GTOs, the 440s. That was the era of the big power cars.”
Stanley grew up in the ’60s and couldn’t help but notice the shift from the larger vehicles of the ’50s to the smaller vehicles with larger engines of the ’60s.
“In the early ’60s things really changed,” he said. “The ’50s was the Corvette and the T-Bird, but the average person in North America couldn’t afford that. The ’60s came out with the Mustang. After that obviously Chrysler and Chevy followed quickly with all their cars.”
Stanley spent many years admiring the muscle cars of the ’60s.
“The cars the young boys dreamed about were the ones you couldn’t have or couldn’t afford or your school teacher had or brother had,” he said. “The car was so critical in our time because we lived in huge rural communities at that time. You were stuck on the farm until you were old enough to drive. You just couldn’t wait to get your license.”
Stanley will never forget his ’69 Mercury Cougar XR7 he bought in ’73. He said he’s owned a Cougar ever since.
“They were unique and there was never a lot of them,” he said. “There’s a huge following for Cougars.”
Stanley not only expects to see Cougars at this weekend’s show and shine, but also plenty of ’60s Mustangs and Chevelles.
“Those were probably the two most popular cars of that time,” he said. “Those are the cars of our youth.”
Daggett Street will be reserved for the rat rods - vintage trucks rebuilt with modern bodies, said Stanley.
“It’s really a piece of art that people build out of cars – tires, wheels, frames and doors,” he said.
Keith Gray, also a committee member, said this weekend’s show and shine will feature everything from muscle cars to special interest cars.
“It just brings back memories,” he said. “Some people just like having cars that they had in their past and want to rebuild. Some people, like myself, just like building hot rods. It’s a hobby more than anything.”
In addition to cars, entertainment will be plentiful with performances by local rockabilly ’50s and ’60s band Alien Rebels, high-energy rock band Blacklight, highland dancers and zumba dancing.
“We’re just trying to get a lot of people down here, get some excitement going, bring back some memories,” said Gray. “Our main purpose for this is to promote Okotoks and promote the businesses.”
In addition to entertainment will be various food vendors, beer gardens and a five-ton cube van collecting non-perishable food items and monetary donations for the Okotoks Food Bank at the Okotoks Municipal Centre.
Preceding the show and shine is a poker run and cruise night starting at The George Traditional House at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16. It leads participants throughout the Okotoks area to collect their cards through a series of clues.
The poker run is followed by a drive-in movie featuring the ’73 flick American Graffiti in The George parking lot at dusk. The movie is about a group of high school graduates spending one last night cruising the streets before heading off to college.
Stanley said drive-in movies were a big part of the ’60s culture.
“When I was a kid that was a big thing,” he said. “We all went to drive-ins in rural Alberta or rural Saskatchewan. It was a social thing.”
Those planning to enter their vehicles in the Olde Towne Okotoks Show & Shine must register downtown at 8 a.m. on Aug. 17. For more information go to www.okotoksshowandshine.ca