Car show attracts large crowd to Oxford
A car show highlighted Oxford's First Friday event on Sept. 5, attracting a large crowd
By Steven Hoffman
More than 140 classic and antique cars, representing some of the finest sets of wheels to ever roll off the assembly lines in Detroit, were on display in downtown Oxford last Friday during the town’s First Friday event.
Enthusiasm for the car show had been building for several months leading up to the event, and organizers and business owners in town were extremely pleased with the turnout.
“The support that we received for this event, and the compliments about it, have been overwhelming,” said Sue Cole, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc., the organization that planned the event.
As the owners of the classic and antique cars made their way to the designated spots along Third Street, Jerome Rodio of J&K Slightly Touched expressed his enthusiasm for the car show.
“I think it’s great,” Rodio said. “Every car that comes in, I want to be behind the wheel.”
“I’m glad that Oxford is having a car show,” said John Beard, who entered the 1972 Cadillac Coupe Deville. It his grandfather originally purchased the car in 1974 and it has been well-maintained ever since.
“It has a lot of sentimental value,” said Beard.
Bob Miller said the same thing about his 1947 Jeep Pickup that was made to look like a firetruck. Miller, a resident of Lower Oxford, has owned the vehicle since 1984. It was originally used by the Playtown Park amusement park in Springfield, Pa. Guests would be shuttled from the parking lot to the amusement park in the vehicle.
Miller has done a lot of work on the vehicle, including having the engine rebuilt and having it painted. Maintaining it, he said, is a work in progress, and he enjoys showing it off. He has rode in the vehicle in several of Oxford’s Halloween Parades.
Pete Hill’s entry in the car show, a 1953 Chevy 210, which is a variant of the Chevrolet Belair, is almost identical to a car that he owned when he was a teenager. Hill just purchased the vehicle two months ago after looking for one for about a decade.
“I owned this exact same car when I was 14,” he said, explaining that he found the vehicle being offered for sale online by a man in Mississippi.
“It’s a wonderful driving car,” Hill said. “It’s heavy. There’s no plastic to this car.”
During its lifetime, the car has moved from California to New Jersey to Mississippi and now to Pennsylvania. It has been lovingly maintained.
Dawn Perdue, a resident of Nottingham, was showing off her sporty 1971 Ford Pinto. Perdue races up and down the East Coast as an NHRA/IHRA quarter-mile drag racer. Her car was decorated with the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation logo. The foundation was established by Oxford resident Paul Matthews in memory of his son, Eli, who passed away after bravely fighting childhood cancer. Perdue helps raise awareness about the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation wherever she travels to compete.
“This is raising awareness in a very loud way,” said Paul Matthews.
Perdue wasn’t the only person helping to support the foundation during the First Friday event. Maggie Taylor, who owns the Nationwide Insurance agency in town, said that the company will be making a $5 donation to the foundation every time that a person calls up for an insurance quote during the month of September. There is absolutely no obligation beyond getting the quote.
Taylor said that she’s excited about the opportunity to help the foundation.
For this event, Nationwide helped arrange to have a Nationwide Sprint Cup Car as well as a NASCAR simulator.
Ian Hill, 12, was one of the first to give the simulator a try.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.
In addition to the antique and classic cars, the normal attractions of the First Fridays—arts and crafts, special discounts at businesses, and plenty of food—were also available to visitors.
A record number of vendors signed up to offer their wares in conjunction with the car show. Alexandra Doscher, an eleventh-grader at Avon Grove High School and the proprietor of Lexie’s Cakes, has been participating in First Fridays in Oxford for about a year. For this one, she baked a cake with a car theme.
There were several different opportunities to enjoy live music. Bill Haley, Jr. and the Comets, a tribute band to rock ’n’ roll icons Bill Haley with the Comets, performed in the parking lot of the Pizza Hut. Bill Haley Jr. said that some of his earliest memories involve his father rehearsing with the band in the garage.
Cole said that the enthusiasm for the car show resulted in one of the larger and best-received First Friday events ever.
“The community is still buzzing about it,” Cole said. “We will definitely do it again next year.”
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.