KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- The 47th annual Bennington Car Show is next weekend, and with registration fees lower than last year, a different outreach strategy, and a full field of vendors, the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce hopes for a fun, family event.
The show starts Friday, Sept. 13, at Willow Park and runs through the weekend. The entrance fee is $8 per person, kids under 12 are free.
In past years, the show has had a mix of individuals showing off cars, and car clubs, said chamber spokesman Eric Wood, but for this year the chamber a ltered its focus slightly.
"One of the new things that were are doing this year is we are recruiting more clubs," he said.
People have more fun when they travel in groups, he said, but having more clubs at the show will bring more cars. Registration fees have also dropped. Preregistering a car is now $10, while registering at the gate is $15. Wood said the chamber has also reached out to local car enthusiasts for help in recruiting clubs from the shows they attend.
This strategy seems to have worked. Wood said the chamber hopes to see 400 cars fielded this year, but many factors are in play, not the least of which is the weather.
"We have over 200 vendors slots that are going to be occupied this year," Wood said. Vendors selling car parts are one of the show’s main attractions. There will be activities for children, too, and "era-appropriate" music.
The show’s focus has largely been "muscle" cars from the 1950s and 1960s, with plenty of antique cars thrown in. But if a car is interesting to look at, it’s welcome regardless of when it was made.
"We just want to see cars you don’t see the street any given day," Wood said, adding that a 2012 Bentley has been registered, and the show has seen its share of modern sports cars before.
According to the car show’s website, www.benningtoncarshow.com, it is the oldest annual car show in the state. It came back to Bennington after being held at the former Green Mountain Race Track - now the Southern Vermont Energy Park - in Pownal. Wood said the move has proven wise in the past few years. "It’s the Bennington Car Show. It needs to be in Bennington," said Wood.
The influx of interesting vehicles can often be seen on Bennington’s roads a little before the show, and during its run. Wood said keeping the show in Bennington encourages the money it brings in to be spent in the area.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.