When I returned home from the Return to Renton car show on Sunday, I saw a story on the news about citizens in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rallying around the town in the wake of a natural disaster. The truth is, almost every day seems like that in Renton. I am not someone who “does” car shows. In fact, I probably could take them or leave them. But, I can’t imagine when I have had a better day in Renton than last Sunday’s car show (and with a cracked rib that is really saying something)! Close to 4,500 people were walking the downtown streets of Renton! It doesn’t get any better than that! The spirit of Renton was alive and well everywhere I looked.
Here is some of what I heard and saw.
Marty at Oak Hill Farms, who sells shaved ice and is a regular at the Farmers Market, insisted on giving away free, cool, sweet, shaved ice to everyone who volunteered. Yet, he still had a banner day of sales. Ditto for the folks selling corn on the cob – sold out. The Eagles and Rubattino’s had record crowds selling breakfast! Everyone in our group at the Eagles said the breakfast was fabulous! The groovy DJ, Gaylen Sauve’ – one of the best I have ever heard – had the crowd dancing in the streets and doing the “YMCA.” Attendees marveled at the “Double Trouble” exhibit of a two-headed cab truck used by Renton Technical College to train its automotive students. Bruce Savadow, a photographer, sold me some amazing prints and remarked about how friendly everyone was in Renton. Council member Marcie Palmer, watching son David perform in the middle of downtown to “Once Upon a Mattress,” said: “The car show was a great boost to downtown.”
Kathleen Keator from the Renton Chamber of Commerce stopped me on the street to marvel at “how blown away she was” by how successful the car show was. Remarkably, in the show’s first year in downtown Renton, the show was incredibly well organized and signage made it look effortless — which I know it was not — to get around downtown. Jim Medzegian, co-chair of the event, and his committee put in countless hours and effort into this event that benefits the Renton Police Department youth programs.
There were close to 400 cars at the show. My favorite was a 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible, exhibited by Rick Gould of Kent.
He was a first-time exhibitor who “definitely will be back.” He enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the show, loved that he wasn’t “held hostage” like some fairgrounds shows, we had plenty of port-a-potties (a serious thing, he said!) and could wander restaurants at his leisure; he enjoyed ribs and an ice cream sandwich. His red and white convertible, with the original color scheme interior, 351-cubic-inch Windsor w/4 BBR and C6 transmission and 9-inch rear end was the kind of car you wanted to be driving away in on the end of a perfect day in downtown Renton.
Did I mention I don’t go to car shows?
Susan Bressler is an active member of a number of Renton organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.