Oxford Car Show attracts thousands to First Friday event09/06/2022 11:54AM ● By Steven Hoffman
The perfect weather people had been hoping for since spring breezed in on Friday in time to smile on Oxford’s eighth annual car show.
A rough estimate of several thousand visitors browsed the length of 3rd Street and Market and Locust streets starting at 3 p.m. until closing at 8 p.m. to enjoy the 200 classic vehicles on display.
The show, sponsored by Oxford Mainstreet Inc. attracted car and truck owners from all over the region. Adding to the gaiety of the evening along the way were the Revolution Heroes musicians at the Oxford Hotel porch, food trucks, emergency responders (including the fire company) and representatives of local businesses and non-profits.
Even State Rep. John Lawrence, of West Grove, also had his restored U.S. Post Office delivery truck parked in front of the Oxford Hotel, where the musicians performed.
Oxford Mainstreet Inc. executive director Brian Dix said planning begins for this popular annual event at least six months prior. This year, he said, they put a cap of 200 on the number of entrants and did not allow drive-ins.
He praised the efforts of the Oxford police for keeping the show orderly and said the only big problem in the history of the event was the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the car show in 2020. There has never been anything more serious than the occasional vehicle breakdown during the car shows.
Commenting on the attitudes of the owners he saw there, Dix said, “They love their cars. They’re like their children.” The cars on display varied from some of the very earliest antiques to a 2019 Tesla all shined up. Most of the cars sat along the side of the street with their hoods open, inviting spectators to notice how well-kept their engines are.
On one display of contrasts, Steve Roberts and Steve Jensen teamed up to show the evolution of vehicles as history progressed. Lined up together were a 1911 Stanley Steamer, a 1923 Model T Ford and the Tesla.
The contrast between the blue Stanley Steamer and the model T, Jensen explained, was that the steamer, true to its name was powered by steam with the water heated by kerosene. The Model T was powered by a gas engine.
Like almost all of the vehicles on display, they were gleaming clean and shiny regardless of their ages.
Although there were no restrictions placed on the ages or vintages of the participant cars, many were sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s, all shined up. There were also antiques going back to the early years of the 1900s, modified big wheel jeeps and vehicles that had undergone substantial modifications, even with transfers from other models.
One of the memorable exhibits was the 1937 Dodge panel truck that the late founder of Herr Foods, Jim Herr, used to deliver his potato chips in Lancaster County. Crystal Messaros from Herr Foods was at the car show with the truck and she gave out free bags of potato chips at an adjacent table.
Another attention-getter was a pair of cars decorated with flowers. In honor of the adjacent flower shop, Natalie Weaver and Michelle Cage brought in oceans of sunflowers and other plants to brighten up the vehicles parked there.
Down the way, Tommy Ostendarp showed off an old, rusty truck that he had jerry-rigged with parts he said he had collected at home. The truck was adorned with multiple creepy old dolls, hairy wigs, a cow catcher from a train and a clown skull out in front.
He said he and some friends who call themselves “Rajn’ Rats of Rising Sun” get together and fix up their old vehicles with found objects. “I’m a hoarder, as you can tell,” he said.
Ostendarp wasn’t the only exhibitor who attached unrelated materials to an old vehicle.
Connor Moran was showing a a custom VW GTI that he had turned from a sedan to a pickup. In the course of the project he had to reshape the vehicle’s back end and weld on new parts he had searched around for.
Bill Vandenbraak was showing a bright orange corvette from the 1960s. The color was striking, but Bandenbraak said he hadn’t done the painting. He said he assumed the previous owner had chosen the color for his or her preferences.
Over at the Union Fire Company, children like TJ and Derek Tavoni were impressed with the fire truck.
Firefighters on hand said they always invite the children to climb in during the First Friday events.
Meanwhile, throughout the evening, the food trucks continued to sell all varieties of refreshments from sandwiches to popcorn. Some of the food vendors included 22BBQ, Burgers by Wildwich, JD’s House of Bacon, Bulldawg BBQ, Lion’s Club of Oxford and Kona Ice.
Even groups from the schools were there to display their paraphernalia and talk to visitors.
Oxford Mainstreet Inc. opens up 3rd Street every First Friday of the month for special events.
Coming on Oct. 7 is Hometown Harvest. “The Great Give” is scheduled for Nov. 4.
On Dec. 2, Santa Claus comes and the town tree is lit for the “Country Christmas” on Dec. 2.