Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press
Times Photos by Beverly Barela

Historical Downtown Atwater car show’s 150 vehicles attracts crowd

Shiny and intriguing vehicles of all types lined Broadway Avenue from Second to Fifth Streets on June 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. as a car show put on by Historical Downtown Atwater drew the attention of a huge crowd.

John Cardenas, Atwater Chamber of Commerce Vice President and the show’s organizer, mingled with guests, sporting the Historical Downtown Atwater t-shirt designed by Levi Ortega of Urban Illustrators, a downtown business.
Cardenas estimated that 150 vehicles were displayed on the streets of downtown.

He said, “Downtown revitalization is about more than making physical improvements. It’s about bringing people together. A vibrant downtown, main street and city center will give people reasons to return to our neighborhoods over and over again.”

Cardenas outlined the progress Historical Downtown Atwater has made so far – – on January 21, the concept was developed, on February 13, the first meeting was held, on March 2, a Facebook page was set up, on April 18, a rigatoni fundraising dinner took place, on May 8, the Articles of Incorporation were filed with the California Secretary of State, and on May 23, the nonprofit, Historical Downtown Atwater, was granted 501c3 status.

According to Cardenas, 22 Atwater businesses have already joined in support of the non-profit, and eight core businesses were key in helping him put on the event, among them Urban Illustrators, A-1-A Locks, VFW, and Whiskey River Saloon.
When asked how the show was able to attract so many people, Cardenas said, “I was trying to think of how to bring people out. We, as a group, came together and thought of a car show. It was advertised on Facebook, and we put a flyer in businesses, and the rest was word of mouth.”

Of the show, a spectator exclaimed, enthusiastically, “There are low riders, custom cars, street rods and muscle cars – – there is something for everyone!”

Judges were circulating, evaluating vehicles based on five categories. The prizes were bowling pins with custom paint jobs.

One of the categories was Best of Show. The winner was a black 1929 Ford Coupe.

Another category was Best Paint Job, and the winner was a 1959 red Impala convertible.

Cool Classic was won by a 1957 Chevy Nomad Wagon.

The Crazy Custom winner was a 1965 El Camino.

A 1956 Oldsmobile 88 won the category, Under Construction.

Cardenas said, “There was a lot of positive feedback from spectators and business owners alike, and they felt the car show was a big hit. People asked if we could do another one soon. One business owner said she had more people coming into her shop that Saturday than she had all year. I heard people who were going into businesses saying they didn’t know some of the shops were there. So it’s working that people are becoming more aware of the downtown businesses. And we are planning on doing a Fall car show in mid-October which will be very similar to this one.”

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