Photo by Jeff Ter Har
Photo by Jeff Ter Har
Twenty-five years ago, Kathy and Mike Sasso waved goodbye to their wedding guests while Ray Sheldon, Kathy’s father, drove the newlyweds away in his butternut-yellow 1969 Ford Galaxy 500 Convertible.
Nearly two decades later, the Sassos, who live in Olney, purchased the car from Sheldon and have since entered it in various regional parades and events, including Astoria Regatta. At last year’s Seaside Muscle and Chrome Car Show, Mike Sasso took his father-in-law’s place as chauffeur to convey his daughter Nikkole, Miss North Coast’s Outstanding Teen, and other title-holders during the traditional Downtown Cruise.
That spirit — one of interests merging and passing among generations — is expressed at the annual Seaside car show, taking place Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17.
Because the event, organized by the Seaside Downtown Development Association each June, features show-quality vehicles from 1960 to 1978, and factory performance vehicles from 1979 to 2017, the atmosphere creates an intense mingling of multiple generations, executive director Sarah Dailey said.
“You’ll have the grandson there with his Audi, and the dad with his Mustang from high school that’s fixed up, and then the grandpa with the classic,” she said, “and that’s so fun to see.”
'A lot of love'
For the Sassos, their Ford Galaxy will always be the car Kathy’s father liked, “the one he went out and looked for,” the one he found “that was in good enough condition to bring back to life,” and the one “me and my wife took off in after we got married,” Mike Sasso said.
Many owners have similarly significant relationships with their cars.
“A lot of them have a long history with their vehicle,” Dailey said. “They put a lot of love and effort into them.”
Cheri Knobler, of Hayden, Idaho, got her 2002 Ford Thunderbird as a present from her husband, Jon, three years ago for their 44th wedding anniversary. Cheri Knobler’s parents owned several Thunderbirds when she was growing up, and she’s always had a preference for that style of car.
Cheri Knobler light-heartedly recounted how, in the early stages of dating, she “broke up with (Jon) for guys who I thought had better cars,” including Mustangs and a ’57 Thunderbird. When she got her own Thunderbird — produced as part of Ford’s eleventh-generation retro-styled series made from 2002 to 2005 — the family joked that her husband was now safe from any more break-ups.
The Knoblers will show their T-bird — Cheri Knobler’s daily driver “when the snow is gone until the next snow arrives,” she said — at Muscle and Chrome this year. Not only will it be the couple’s first time at the Seaside event, it will be the vehicle’s first time in a show.
“We thought it would be cool this year to come to Seaside, because we had never been for that kind of a show,” she said.
At this point, they aren’t as interested in winning trophies or the competitive aspect. “It’s really more now the destination and the people when we go to these events,” she said.
They also enjoy sharing information about their car with others, and putting it on display.
“We must like that to some degree, or we wouldn’t have it,” Knobler joked, adding that interested spectators in her hometown frequently stop her when she’s out and about. “We must, somewhere down deep, want to be noticed.”
Car show happenings
Muscle and Chrome takes place in downtown Seaside, along Broadway Street and connecting streets. The public is invited to view cars for free at the Show and Shine 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. There also will be live music, with American heavy metal band Within Sight playing at 1 p.m., and Americana artist Redwood Son playing at 3 p.m. Both performances will take place in Downing Park (the pocket park along Broadway), which will be set up with a stage and tents. The live entertainment is being given more prominence this year in an attempt to augment the car show’s appeal and activities for people of all ages.
“To have live music really adds to the feel of the show,” Dailey said.
For many registered car participants, the fun starts early at a barbecue dinner hosted at Thousand Trails’ RV Campground in Seaside on Friday night. As many as 70 registrants can participate. From the campground, they will take off at 6:30 p.m. for a cruise along U.S. Highway 101, down to Tolovana Park and then back north.
“It’s neat because we get to cruise through not only Seaside, but also Cannon Beach, and everybody comes out of their businesses and waves and greets everyone and looks at the cars,” Dailey said.
The car owners will take another cruise to wrap up the Show and Shine 5 p.m. Saturday. The Downtown Cruise route goes west on Broadway, north on Columbia Street, east on First Avenue to Necanicum Drive, where the cars will turn around at the Seaside Museum, then return along First Avenue to Holladay Drive and back to Broadway. The Downtown Cruise is one of the most popular activities for both spectators and owners, an important part of the car show’s success.
“We want to cater to the car participants, because we wouldn’t have a show without them,” Dailey said. “We want them to have a great time while they’re here, and for it to be a good experience for them to show off their car. But we also need to cater to the people who are coming to look at the cars, and make it interesting for them.”
The event finishes with dinner and awards for registered participants Saturday evening. The awards, chosen by car enthusiasts rather than judges, are more casual than competitive. Last year, the Sassos were given the “Purely Beaching” award.
Throughout the show, local volunteers and members of the Rod Squad, a dedicated team of car enthusiasts who help at several shows along the Pacific Northwest, will assist patrons with registration, parking, directions to activities, and guiding the cruises.
Car owners can preregister to participate at seasidedowntown.com or by calling 503-738-7637. Registration will also be possible 1 to 7 p.m. Friday and 6 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.