OTTAWA — It’s been 33 years since a group of friends first hatched the idea of having a car show in their hometown.
Five guys — Dannie Burnett, Ralph Finch, Tommy Sink, Wes Taylor and Roger Ward — enjoyed attending car shows together, and thought that Forest Park would be the ideal spot for a show.
After meeting with friends, the group not only began planning the show, but formed a car club called the Over the Road Gang.
The first Ol’ Marais Rod and Custom Show took place in September 1986. During that first show, 150 car owners participated.
Today, those numbers are closer to 2,000.
Club President Ed Clark said he already has 1,117 individuals registered for this year’s show. While pre-registration ended on Aug. 25, Clark said he still expects more entries this weekend. Last year, the club had approximately 1,906 vehicles on display.
The biggest draw this year, and nearly every year, he said, is the Back to the 60s Cruise Night. This year’s event is from 6-10 p.m. Saturday.
“The Cruise Night has really become a big thing,” Clark said. “We originally came up with the idea because it was something for the car owners to do. We had no idea it would go over as well as it has.
“It’s a big hit, a big draw. You not only get to see the cars, but you get to watch them move and hear them run.”