Local car shows aim to keep growing

By Matt Bunke, Community Editor

Car shows are quickly becoming a staple of popular annual summer festivals in Watertown and Mayer, and this year, organizers are hoping to see them grow even more.

Last year, the Rails to Trails Festival in Watertown launched a car show for the first time, drawing about 85 to 100 cars to the Watertown Rumble In Car Show despite morning storms on the day of the show. This year, car show organizer Darwin Roy said he hopes the show can grow to as many as 125 or 150 cars, and based on previous growth seen at the nearby Mayer Car show, that kind of growth certainly seems feasible.

The Mayer Car show, now in its fourth year, had 17 cars in its first year. By its second year, it had 95 cars, and last year it had 135. That’s the type of growth Roy is also hoping to see at the Rails to Trails show in Watertown.

"That’s the goal," Roy said. "We’re trying to make this an annual event for Rails to Trails, so we’d like to see the car show continue to grow. We’re hoping the weather cooperates so we can turn out 125 to 150."

Tom Stifter, who organizes the Mayer Car Show, said he was a bit surprised at how quickly that show took off. However, he cites the festival setting surrounding the car show as one of the biggest reasons the show has become a hit. There is plenty of fun for the whole family nearby including games and food, an advantage the Rumble In show in Watertown also enjoys.

"I was really happy that first year when it took that big jump to almost 100 cars," Stifter said. "I thought this is really cool; it’s going to make it. Once you get people coming, you know they’ll probably come the next year too."

The Rails To Trails Car Show, which last year was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, will this year be moved to Highland Park. Instead of having a band perform like at last year’s show, this year’s event will include a DJ.

The Rails to Trails show will be held July 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Highland Park, and will feature grocery giveaways from Market Place Foods. It will once again feature an engine blow out contest as well. That’s where attendees can buy tickets to guess how long a car’s engine will run when it is drained of all its fluids.

Registration forms for the Watertown show can be found on the Rails to Trails Web site, www.railstotrails.ws. Same day registrations will also be accepted, but Roy said people are encouraged to register in advance if possible. There is no registration fee, and there will be prizes awarded, likely to the top 20 or 25.

The Mayer Car Show will be held on Saturday, July 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The show also includes tractors and cycles, and Stifter said he was impressed by the 27 tractors were part of the show last year.

There are no entry fees for the Mayer show, and the first 150 entrants will receive a gift bag. Prizes will also be awarded. Registration forms can be found at www.maycarshow.com.