Staff and volunteers at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum are gearing up for their 20th annual Show & Shine Car Show & Swap Meet, Saturday Sept. 3rd. “We had 23 cars at our first show,” chuckled Rob Peterson. “Last year we had more than 140 cars registered and more than 1,000 visitors voting for their favorites.”
Second only to the annual auction and dinner, the car show is a major fund raiser for the museum. “The fee to enter a car is just $20,” said Peterson, “and there is no charge for spectators. There will be a food booth with great burgers, dogs, bbq pork sliders, and even strawberry shortcake dessert. We also will be raffling off a lot of nice items donated by local businesses, ranging in value from $10 to over $100.” Gates will open at 9 a.m. for participants, with the show running from noon to 4 p.m. There will be an auto-oriented swap meet on the grounds, with each space costing $20. 50/50 tickets will be sold, with the winner taking home half the earnings. Last year’s winner pocketed more than $200.
Peterson, who has been the chief organizer for all 19 previous shows, said that the first 150 entrants will receive a goody bag including a dash plaque for their car. Awards will be presented in 19 categories, ranging from the top prize of People’s Choice – Best of Show, to Participants’ Choice and Best Car Club Participant. New this year is the “I Bribed the Judge award” done in the spirit of fun, “People really seem to enjoy the interactive aspect of our show,” said Peterson. “It’s competitive but in a very fun way.”
He was quick to laud local businesses. “We could not pull this off without the generosity of businesses up and down the Gorge. They give us the raffle items but they also sponsor the trophies and some even chip in cash to help us cover expenses.” Volunteers are still needed in several areas, including the food booth (food handlers card needed), parking cars and at the registration table. Please call the museum to volunteer.
For a rural area with relatively low population, Skamania County boasts a lot of hobbyists who restore old cars, said Peterson. “One of my favorite things about the show is seeing the cars that turn out that we’ve never seen before. A couple years ago we even had a restored WWII half track from Carson, which the owners drove over the Carson Ridge to get here so they could stay off Highway 14. And it was gorgeous.” Almost everyone attending loved it!