|September 12, 2008
By PATRICK McARDLE Herald Staff
|POWNAL â€” The 42nd Bennington Car Show opens today at the Green Mountain Racetrack on Route 7 and continues through the weekend although the cars will not be on display until Saturday.Â
Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joann Erenhouse said she is expecting the car show to have a strong year.
“Bring the family, have lunch under the tent. There’s the tractors, the tractor pulls, the small engines. The flea market goes on forever. You could get lost in there,” she said.
The car show will be at the racetrack in Pownal for the fourth time this year and Erenhouse said she thought the show’s organizers, vendors and participants were now very comfortable in the space.
Dan Zwynenburg, vice-president of the Green Mountain Antique Car Club, said on Wednesday that pre-registration of cars was “right on track” with expectations. About 550 cars are registered and Zwynenburg said even more will probably show up on Saturday and Sunday.
The cars will be judged and prizes awarded in more than 40 categories on Sunday.
Zwynenburg said the show attracts car owners primarily from New England but also from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada.
Every year there is at least one person who has driven more than 1,000 miles to be at the show, Zwynenburg said, usually by someone who wanted to visit Vermont or New England anyway and had heard about the show.
“I think the appeal of this show is that these are really 25-year-old vehicles. They’re originals, not just kit cars or replicas. And, of course, it’s not all just Model-Ts anymore,” Zwynenburg said.
The addition of hot rods and muscle cars to the show’s traditional line-up of classic automobiles has proven popular, according to Zwynenburg.
The Green Mountain Racetrack is a good site for the show, Zwynenburg believes. Because the ground is flat, there are few problems with mud and cuts the need for towing because the rain doesn’t pool.
The space which Erenhouse said was about 150 acres has allowed the show to grow.
Visitors will get a program at admission which will include a centerfold map to help them navigate the grounds.
Erenhouse said she hoped for good weather, usually a key component of attracting visitors. Unfortunately, the National Weather Service is calling for rain today, Saturday and Sunday.
The forecast calls for showers on Friday and thunderstorms on Saturday, with a 50 percent chance of precipitation, and Sunday, a 60 percent chance of precipitation.
Even if some rain falls, many of the flea market stalls are inside and the food booths are under tents. Erenhouse pointed out that many of the food booths are run by local social organizations that use the proceeds to fund scholarships for students at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington.
Zwynenburg, who lives in Pownal, said he has been involved with the show for more than 30 years since he was in high school. The tradition will continue this year with more than 25 students from the Bennington Rotary Club’s Interact Club participating as well as other students in various capacities.
Other features that will be part of the car show that Erenhouse pointed out were the hot-air balloon rides offered by RE/MAX Maple Leaf Realty from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday and the half a ton of potatoes the Vietnam Veterans of Vermont will be using to make their popular french fries.
On Saturday, between 5 and 8 p.m., parking spaces will be reserved for classic cars from the show. Erenhouse said that will give the car show participants a chance to visit downtown Bennington and the town’s residents a chance to see some of the best cars from the show.
Tickets are $8 for the show, with multiday discounts available. Children under 12 are admitted free. Erenhouse also reminded spectators that they must use the south gate to enter the show.
Contact Patrick McArdle at firstname.lastname@example.org.