For the sixth year in a row, Railway Avenue in Ashcroft will gleam with chrome as car collectors, restorers, and enthusiasts show off their prizes at the annual Show and Shine, put on by the Vintage Car Club of Canada’s Merritt chapter. The event takes place to coincide with the Fall Fair on Sunday, September 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We get an average of 60 to 80 cars each year,” says organizer Cam Tedford. “People come from all around to see them.” In recent days he’s fielded calls from people in Quesnel, 100 Mile, and Lillooet who have said they’ll bring their cars if they’re coming through the area. The event is, he says, a huge draw for car enthusiasts.
One of the vehicles on display at the 2015 show. Photo by Wendy Coomber
“Car people in the northwest use Harrison’s Auto Event List, which lists everything from show and shines to swap meets,” he explains. The Ashcroft event is always listed there, meaning that fans of old cars know to mark the event on their calendar. “We always get a big contingent from Lillooet, and last year we had a big party come up from Washington State.”
He adds that there are several car shows close to each other—in 100 Mile, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Kamloops, Lillooet, Logan Lake, and Merritt—and that people try to hit each other’s shows. The Ashcroft show, which includes cars and bikes, “gets bigger every year.”
About 75 per cent of the people who brings vehicles to the event are repeats. Tedford adds that there is always a large contingent of locally-owned cars. “There are a lot of area collectors and restorers. It has a huge following.” Registration is free, and each participant gets a dash plaque. They also get a slip entering them in a draw for a hand-carved leather plaque created by Ron Matkea; last year’s plaque was won by Ashcroft’s Ray Bewza.
The leather plaque made by Ron Matkea. One is goven away each year. Photo by Wendy Coomber
Tedford cheerfully agrees that the cars’ owners like to show them off. “The owners love to talk about their cars, the way an artist likes to talk about their paintings or an author likes to talk about their books. They restore or build these cars out of a love of history.
“They’re always looking for feedback and comments. And some of the people who come to the show say ‘I remember that car’ or ‘I remember when my grandfather had that one.’ There’s always lots of talk and reminiscing.”
The show and shine is almost always run on the same day as the Fall Fair, and Tedford hopes that people who are in Ashcroft for the fair on September 11 will walk two blocks to Railway and check out the cars on display. “It’s definitely a draw for the guys,” he laughs.
Another of the vehicles on display in 2015. Photo by Wendy Coomber