AUGUST 13, 2012: RETURN TO THE SMALL TOWN CAR SHOW: TWO TOWNS IN ONE WEEKEND

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It is no secret that a small town car show is one of our favorite ways to visit the collector vehicle hobby because it is all about location, location, location.

 

We visited two small town shows this weekend and soaked up a little hospitality that can only be found in smaller communities.

 

First of all, there is always a strong sense of community in small towns. The Saturday show was in Bentley Alberta, a town which has about a thousand people and the BBQ at the car show was a fund-raiser for the local volunteer fire department.

 

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The local organizers held the show by the railway tracks and grain elevators that were still standing in the town. Anybody with a sense of history about small prairie towns will recognize the combination of grain storage and transportation that were a vital part of most small towns in the past because the communities were always located in the heartland of farm country.

 

Bentley is one of those now-rare small towns that still have its old grain elevators by the train tracks and it is an ideal place to shoot photos of vintage vehicles in a place where the rapidly disappearing elevators still exist.

 

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The town never had an actual drive-in, but the side of the elevator provides a great screen for the movie shown on Saturday night to the locals and their car guy visitors.

 

The car show itself is a huge part of the local annual weekend celebration known as the Bentley Town and Country Fair and Ag Rodeo. It is a great place for small town hospitality at its finest and we put it on our calendar every year.

 

The next day we headed out to Alix, Alberta which is an even smaller community than Bentley, but has the same small town charm. The Alix show took place on their main street about a block down from their main commercial area.

 

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We can find a story behind virtually every vehicle that we find at car shows, but we sometimes have a little difficulty finding the owners of the vehicles at the bigger shows in bigger communities.

 

That is never a problem at the small shows because somebody always knows the owners of the vehicles if they are locals. Finding the owner was even easier in Alix because the first person we asked simply pointed down the street and said; “You’re looking for Don and that’s him in the red hat over there.”

 

It was that simple to find the owner at a small town car show.

 

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What was more difficult was leaving both small town car shows this weekend because you meet a lot of great people in small towns.

 

Jim Sutherland

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