Hot rod festival draws car enthusiasts to downtown Winchester

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A slightly cold, inclement weather day could have derailed plans for a car show over the weekend in Winchester.

However, residents and car enthusiasts wouldn’t be deterred.

Winchester’s first-ever Downtown Hot Rod Festival took place, delighting dozens from in and out of town interested in seeing the many vehicles present.

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“We started planning it about seven months ago,” said Robbie Fountain of Remember When Cruiserz, who helped put on the event along with Holder Entertainment. “We wanted to try to bring something to Winchester.”

The event, which took place from Friday through Sunday, was met with success.

Friday and Saturday alone saw over 100 vehicles, with several states being represented.

Individuals came from not only Kentucky but also Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan and even as far west as Arizona.

Among those displaying vehicles was local resident Darrell Tackett, who had a 1973 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck.

Equipped with a 355 Chevrolet small-block engine, the vehicle was nearly all-original.

It’s far from the first time Tackett has engaged in such activities.

“We’ve been messing with cars for twenty-five years. I actually traded for this back in the fall down in Pigeon Forge[, Tennessee},” Tackett said.

Not only did Donald Holder – owner of Holder Entertainment – help host the event, he also brought his 1929 Chevy Woody Hearse.

As a supporter of the military and veterans, Holder had the exterior airbrushed by hand to include artwork paying tribute to the Armed Forces.

He also had slogans such as “Legacy & Honor” accentuating the outside.

“Once I got it, I wanted to do something different…it’s about as different as you can be”, said Holder. “I stand behind the military 100 percent.”

Other Chevy vehicles present included the Camaro and Nova.

However, it was far from the only brand – new or old – represented.

Automobiles such as the Plymouth Fury, Volkswagen Beetle, and Pontiac Thunderbird also made up the list that stretched along Main Street and started at Depot Street on Friday night.

As well as vehicles, there was much more to make the event worthwhile.

Music from the 1950s era was playing, with songs such as “The Great Pretender” by The Platters, “Oh! Carol” by Neil Sedaka, and “Who Put the Bomp” by Barry Mann creating a lively atmosphere.

To complement the music, a pin-up contest featuring several contestants from out-of-state – including Michigan – took place.

Attire included a 1950s-style crinoline dress.

Participants, under stage names, included “Fanny Bruiser”, “Teena Marie”, “Lindy Lamore”, and “Ima Jean”.

They were part of a group calling themselves the Vehicle City Vixens.

“We’re just here to represent Michigan for us girls, have a good time, introduce people to pin up, let them see what we’re about, and hopefully bring a little extra magic to the show,” said Teena Marie. “It’s a sisterhood. It’s very supportive, loving, [and] inclusive.”

A number of other organizations were present too.

For example, Red Top Woodcrafts, Melaleuca: The Wellness Company, Outlier Knife Company, as well as the GRC Color Guard set up under canopies.

Those who brought an automobile had a chance to win one of many awards given out, including the Mayor’s Choice, City Manager’s Choice, and Furthest Traveled Award.

Certainly not least of all, the event was for a good cause.

Proceeds from the event – which included costs for registration and vendor spots – went towards supporting care and research for cystic fibrosis.

Fountain’s son passed away from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that affects protein in the human body.

“It’s near and dear to my heart,” he said.

While hoping for an even larger turnout last year, Fountain also asserts there’s much to enjoy.

“We came up with a three-day event. So far, it’s been great,” Fountain said.