Excitement builds for car show in Oxford
● By Steven Hoffman
Organizers now expect between 300 and 350 antique and classic cars to be showcased in the third annual car show in downtown Oxford this Friday, Sept. 2, as excitement continues to build for one of the town's most popular events.
According to David Ogino, a car enthusiast who serves on the Car Show Committee that oversees planning for the event, car owners from throughout the region have been registering their beloved Mustangs, Chevy Bel Airs and Cadillacs at record numbers for this car show. Approximately 140 vehicles were showcased in the first car show in Oxford in September of 2014, and the number of entries jumped to 260 vehicles last year, exceeding everyone's expectations. Ogino said that they are keeping their fingers crossed for good weather on the day of the show, which could drive the number of cars to the 300-350 range, and would bring out thousands of spectators.
“It is an exciting event and it continues to grow,” explained Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI) executive director Donna Hosler.
Ogino, who readily described himself as “a car guy,” said that his favorite part of the event is meeting with other car owners and talking about their vehicles.
“They have these great stories about rebuilding a car, or you'll talk to someone who found his dream car...all those stories are fantastic,” he explained.
This year's car show, which runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., will have some new additions to enhance the experience for both the car show entrants and for the attendees. The area where cars will be parked has been extended in both directions on Third Street. There are now 35 VIP spots in the downtown that car owners can reserve if they want a highly visible spot for the show. Reserving a VIP spot also comes with nice extras, including gift items from local businesses and a VIP service where food and drinks can be brought right to the owner.
The judging format for the car show has been changed this year so that it is truly a people's choice event. Volunteers will be handing out and collecting voting forms so that spectators can choose their favorites of the show.
Ogino said that efforts have been made to plan activities that will offer fun for the entire family. There will be live music on two different stages, a remote-control race car track, and a full-size Sprint car simulator. Ogino explained that the remote-control race car track will be set up in a Broad Street parking lot. Each remote-control car will feature a decal of a local business that is sponsoring the event.
Additionally this year, Victory Weekend Ministries, a division of Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association, will be bringing its unique brand of positive, family-friendly events to coincide with the car show. Victory Weekend Ministries works in partnership with sports sanctioning bodies like NASCAR and the NHRA to hold outreach events in communities during racing events. The Lighthouse Youth Center will be holding a luncheon for the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association.
A performance by Audra McLaughlin, a contestant on season six of “The Voice,” is also scheduled to take place on a stage set up in the parking lot at the Miss Oxford Diner. The band Shot In The Dark will be performing on the porch of the Oxford Hotel, too.
There will be more food vendors than ever before. Local businesses like the Bog Turtle Brewery will be providing a taste of what Oxford has to offer.
Ogino said that planning such a large event takes a considerable amount of work, and Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. and Oxford Borough officials have helped immensely. Much of the planning for this event falls to the Car Show Committee, which also includes Lisa Burns, Heidi Kern, and Oxford police officer Scott Brown, who oversees all the planning related to public safety. Jerome Rodio, a business owner and president of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce, was also very involved in the planning this year before he passed away in July.
Ogino said that they rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers to make the event a possibility.
“On the day of the car show, we're going to have 50 or 60 volunteers who help to pull it off,” he explained.
To accommodate the day's activities, streets in town will start to be closed to traffic at 11 a.m. Owners who have entered their vehicles in the car show can begin parking them along Third Street at 2 p.m.
The planned street closures include the following:
~ Third Street from Summit Avenue to Chase Street;
~ Hodgson Street from Penn Avenue to Commerce Street;
~ Market Street from Fourth to Third Streets;
~ Lincoln Street from Fourth to Market Street (in front of Union Fire Company);
~ Pine Street from N Third Street to Maple Street;
~ Lancaster Avenue from Pine to Second Street;
~ Locust Street from Third Street to Second Street;
~ Penn Avenue will be one-way from Hodgson Street to East Locust Street (northbound)
Additional road closures and detours may become necessary, as determined by the Oxford Police Department. Ogino said that there will still be plenty of parking around the borough for both residents and visitors throughout the event.
He added that the success of the car show illustrates the vitality of Oxford's downtown.
“There are a lot of people who are really working hard for Oxford,” Ogino said. “I think the car show really showcases how great Oxford can be.”