Hundreds attend car show

MARIETTA – The temperature was headed into the 90s Sunday afternoon, but the heat couldn’t keep several hundred people from attending the Pioneer Corvette Association’s annual car show on the final day of Marietta’s Riverfront Roar celebration.

The sunny weather was good news at the end of the three-day Riverfront Roar that’s traditionally focused on powerboat races at the Ohio River levee. High river levels due to last week’s rain storms caused the races to be canceled, but most other Roar-related activities, including the car show, went on as scheduled.

“The crowd is a little sparse, compared to the past couple of years when they had the powerboat races, but we still had a good turnout of vehicles,” said Rich Stephens from Williamstown who sat in the shade near his bright red 1971 Corvette Stingray, one of 102 classic cars on display Sunday.

“I’ve had this one for five or six years and had a 1977 Corvette before that, but I really like the older cars,” he said.

Dave Stalnaker of Marietta brought his ivory-white 1910 Cadillac to Sunday’s car show.

“I bring it out every year, weather permitting,” he said. “I’ve had the car for 13 years, but it took me seven years to restore it. I bought it off a farm in Connecticut where it had been in a barn for several years.”

Stalnaker said the Caddy would have cost a whopping $1,650 when bought new in 1910, but he’s turned down offers of more than $100,000 for his restored vehicle.

Just down the street Brett and Amy Summerville of Marietta were checking out a 1966 Chevy Impala Sport Coupe with their son, Cameron.

“It’s turned out to be a beautiful end of the week after all,” Brett said. “And I think this is one of the bigger turnouts of cars for the car show – probably as big as we have during the Sternwheel Festival.”

Pioneer Corvette Association president Bryce Goodwin agreed.

“This is our best car show,” he said. “We have really good weather today and more than 100 cars on display. And although the crowd is not the same as we’ve had when the races were on, a lot of people have still showed up.”

Goodwin said the association members were somewhat concerned when it was first announced the powerboat races would not be taking place.

“But then they said everything else would be going on, so we felt a lot better,” he said. “All of these cars are judged by the public, and the top 35 receive plaques. We also give trophies for the best of each make of car – like the best Chevy or best Ford.”

Goodwin said proceeds from the car show go to help local charities at Christmas time.

Riverfront Roar Committee chairman Gary Williams said the event wrapped up a little earlier than normal because there were no powerboat finals on Sunday.

“Under normal circumstances the event would continue until around 5 p.m., but today we’ll be finishing up at 3:30 p.m. when the car show is over,” he said.

Williams said although the crowds were thinner due to cancellation of the powerboat races, the public and vendor support for this year’s 13th Riverfront Roar means the event will continue in 2014.

“It’s been an interesting weekend,” he said. “But even when the weather turned somewhat nasty on Friday evening people still came out to support the Roar and the Merchants and Artists Walk.”

Williams said Saturday night’s fireworks crowd was at least equal to or more than the numbers that have showed up for the fireworks display in previous years.

“Saturday night’s crowd made up for a lot this weekend, and we put a little more into this year’s fireworks show,” he said. “It ran for a full half-hour this year, and the fireworks company, Pyrotechnico, did a great job.”

Planning for next year’s Riverfront Roar will begin next month, Williams said.

“We don’t have a final tally of the revenue yet, but I think we’ll be OK,” he said. “And our sponsors have stayed with us. They knew we couldn’t control the rain and high water that canceled the races, so they’ve committed to stay with us next year.”