Oct. 17 – HENDERSON – Hours after the auto show started on Saturday morning, Ken Stegall of the Corbitt Preservation Association said of the 70-degree sunny weather: “If it doesn’t happen today, it won’t happen. won’t happen. “
“It’s all weather driven,” said Stegall’s fellow Corbitt Tom Burleson, “and it’s going to be a spectacular day.”
The Corbitt guys were right. By late morning, Garnett Street was packed from sidewalk to sidewalk for the 20th annual Show, Shine, Shag and Dine Car Show, which kicked off on Friday before ending the following day.
Vance County Tourism Development Authority director Pam Hester estimated there would be 25,000 to 30,000 visitors, with more foot traffic than the show has seen in several years.
“Everyone was extremely complimentary,” Hester said. “Many said it was the best show yet.”
Corbitts, antiques, vintage muscle cars, hot rods and a host of other classic cars and trucks lined the main thoroughfare of downtown Henderson from the First United Methodist Church south, past the American Legion building to Burwell Avenue. In total there were around 400 vehicles of which more than 200 were judged. Results are expected to be finalized later this week.
Food trucks and vendors also dotted the streets, including James Williams and Bo Parrish, who both served hot dogs and chicken plates outside Muffler Express at the corner of South Garnett and Horner.
A tractor appeared to be in view: a green, gas-powered 1950 Corbitt G-50 owned by 78-year-old John Jenkins of Westmoreland County, Virginia’s Northern Neck area.
Jenkins bought it in 1983 and restored it just four years ago. It’s believed to be one of only 10 like it in the US, at least in one piece.
“My dad used to collect vintage tractors,” Jenkins said. “Somebody would say, ‘I’ve got a tractor in my yard and I want to get rid of it’ and they’d go get it.”
The motor show doubles every year as the Corbitt Truck Show and Reunion. Corbitt connoisseurs took up residence Saturday at the north end of the street, opposite George’s, on the site where Corbitt made his name producing pushchairs at the turn of the 20th century. Paying homage to the company’s more than 50 years of manufacturing in Henderson, the Corbitt Preservation Museum at 180 Court St. is a short walk from here.
Original founder of the Henderson-based Corbitt Club, Bruce Essick brought his maroon 1950 Corbitt D-808 truck from High Point.
Essick purchased the D-808 about 20 years ago. He is an avid collector of vintage trucks and has been attending the meeting since it began. His first antique purchase was a 1947 Corbitt and as a non-local, Essick noted that for him Corbitts are a source of pride for the state.
“Seeing the guys here at the club that I don’t see often for one thing,” Essick said of what he loves about the reunion. “And then sharing your trucks with a lot of people who’ve never seen them. It’s just good clean fun.”
The simple nature of the auto show as a whole might be one of its best draws for attendees.
Some cars have fascinating stories. David Durham’s “intense blue” 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme – not so much.
“I saw it and I liked it and bought it,” said Durham, a 66-year-old Warrenton resident.
No grandstanding for Durham, who bought the Cutlass about 15 years ago and had already attended the Henderson Motor Show several times.
“I love it,” Durham said. “We don’t have much in our towns like this, but when it does I try to get in there. There are lots of cars and beautiful things to look at. I like mine and I I also like other people’s cars. I like to look at other people’s cars.”
For those looking for an antique or a classic, auto shows like this can also be a great place to shop, or vice versa.
But above all, the Show, Shine, Shag and Dine auto show signifies a shared love for vintage and classic automobiles – with the odd tractor blended in, of course.
A native of Tampa, Florida, and resident of Franklinton, Kevin Jackson had visited Henderson for the car show as an enthusiast several times before making his own appearance. Two years ago, he bought a 1971 Chevy Nova, which was painted Laguna Blue on Saturday and parked near The Dispatch office at 420 S. Garnett St.
Jackson, 59, had dreamed of owning a muscle car in his youth and was looking for a 1969 Mustang when he came across the Nova.
Jackson sat peacefully in a folding chair behind the Nova on Saturday, regularly answering questions from passers-by about it. ” What color is it ? And how is the suspension set? they would ask.
A sea of traffic poured onto Garnett Street on Saturday for the show. But no one was in a hurry.
“It really is one of the biggest and nicest living rooms,” Jackson said, “especially if the weather is like this. It’s downtown. It’s a straight line. There seems to be Lots of space. Lots of vendors. People are nice. And there are lots of nice cars.”
Show, Shine, Shag and Dine Car Show Notes: The event began with a Friday lakeside cruise at Satterwhite Point with between 175 and 200 cars passing for lunch by Nobles BBQ and Catering. On Friday night, the Southern Classic Car Museum held its own successful cruise.
Fifteen Jeeps showed up at the inaugural Jeep Jam and 16 race cars were registered at the Garnett Street Depot station as part of the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame.