RetroFest returns with old cars in virtual presentation


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The Chatham Classic Car Show made its long-awaited return this weekend, as did Brian Buchanan’s 1928 Model A Ford.

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The vintage vehicle he bought 30 years ago is now fully restored, so Buchanan finally took it for a test drive on Saturday to receive his RetroFest award.

“I bought it as a project for my father when he retired. Sadly, two years after his retirement he passed away, ”said Buchanan, 57, of Chatham. “The last few years I’ve dedicated myself to putting him on the road for him and I’ve worked hard.

“Hot, sweaty, in my own shop, I did everything myself. I painted it, put it together, put it all together – on it, inside, everything. It has been a labor of love.

Returning after a year of absence, RetroFest was largely a virtual event Friday and Saturday due to COVID-19 restrictions.

One exception was the closing awards ceremony at TekSavvy parking lot, where Cara Redding from Chatham was crowned Mrs. RetroFest and the owners of the winning cars collected their prizes.

The Historic Downtown Chatham Business Improvement Area and the Kent Historic Auto Club hosted RetroFest, which normally includes a Friday night cruise and hundreds of cars parked downtown on Saturday for thousands of visitors.

“It was very important for us to continue with RetroFest,” said BIA project coordinator Connie Beneteau. “We didn’t do anything in 2020 because we couldn’t.

“This year, we asked the public if they wanted to do something, anything, and it was unanimous that they wanted something. We went ahead and gave them the opportunity to sit on their sofa and feel like they were at RetroFest but in the comfort of their home.

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Friday’s rainstorm disrupted plans for live streaming of pre-selected classic cars as they drove, but the Facebook show still had live music and tours recorded by Ms RetroFest’s competitors at businesses across the country. downtown.

“Other than the weather this year, RetroFest is pretty awesome,” said Beneteau. “Friday night we had to face the rain, but the streaming went really well. And on Saturday too, the streaming went very well. No hiccups.

The Facebook festivities also included a range of classic cars where people could post a photo of their vehicle with its make, model and year. There were 269 entries.

“It was an impressive number,” said Beneteau.

Buchanan was surprised at how popular his Model A was on social media.

“I was amazed, with all the hot rods and everything in there, that an old car like this tasted so much. It has been fun, ”he said. “And now that my boys are old enough, they love cars, so hopefully next year when COVID is behind us, we can all go to auto shows and cruises and have fun.”

He was speechless after winning the RM Choice Award for a car he joked about as a “bucket of rust” when he brought it home. Made in the first year of the Model A, the car was stored in a barn before Buchanan bought it and got down to business.

“It’s worth it now,” he said.

Other winners: Lyonel Caza, 1957 Oldsmobile, Junior Judges’ Award; Cory Couture and Tanaya Schippers, 1967 Beaumont Sport Deluxe, BIA Historic Downtown Chatham Award; Brent Erickson, Cadillac Series 370 of 1931, Kent Historic Auto Club Award; and Stan Uher, 1923 Gray-Dort, Mayor’s Choice Award.

Mrs RetroFest Cara Redding poses in front of an award winning 1967 Beaumont Sport Deluxe owned by Cory Couture and Tanaya Schippers at RetroFest in Chatham on June 26. Mark Malone / Postmedia Network SunMedia

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