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Friday, August 28, 2015

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24th annual auto show held in Grand Ledge


Woodland, Mich., resident Barry Donaldson looks at a 1993 Dodge Viper July 13, 2013, at the 24th Annual Ledges Classic Auto Show at Fitzgerald park, 133 Fitzgerald Park Dr. in Grand Ledge. The Viper’s top speed is 180 miles per hour.Weston Brooks/The State News

A Viking Blue 1976 Cutlass Supreme won State Sen. Rick Jones’s favorite car choice this year at the 24th annual Ledges Classic Auto Show at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge Saturday afternoon.

Since 1989, Fitzgerald Park has hosted Grand Ledge’s annual auto show during the second weekend in July, where people can enjoy a few days of music, prizes, awards, food and classic cars, some dating back over 100 years.

Each year Jones, along with a representative from the fire and police department and a select child, award their favorite cars with a winning plaque.

“There are no rules, I just pick the cars,” Jones said. “One year, I’ll pick a General Motors, one year a Ford and another time Chrysler — as long as it’s American.”

According to Jackie Blanc, a naturalist at Eaton County Parks, the show started when previous Park Director Steve Tuma created the event, with 38 cars participating in the two-day show. Now 24 years later, the show has grown tremendously with hundreds of people in attendance, and this year over 200 cars registered with a $5 fee before noon.

By Weston Brooks / The State News
Lansing resident Al Hagen is seen in a reflection off of a 1929 Model A car July 13, 2013, at the 24th Annual Ledges Classic Auto Show at Fitzgerald park, 133 Fitzgerald Park Dr. in Grand Ledge. In 1929 the car sold for about $500, or $6,800 in today's money. Weston Brooks/The State News

“I think most people like the show because they’re not in an asphalt parking lot,” Blanc said. “You get that coolness, the nice park setting with shaded trees, music, and there’s a playground if the kids get a little anxious.”

Blanc’s 12-year-old daughter Julie Blanc was selected to do the kid’s choice pick Saturday after years of attending. Julie Blanc chose an orange and gold Volkswagen Dune Buggy, with the owners rewarding her with a joyride.

For some people such as Eagle, Mich., resident Lyle Patrick, attendees come out every year as the tradition continues.

“I was originally born in Grand Ledge so I see a lot of people when I come to this show that I’ve known for years,” Patrick said.

Patrick showed off his 1956 blood red Chevy convertible that won the senator’s pick two years prior. He bought the car in 1988 from the original owner for $1,500 and after three years and countless hours of restoring it, the shiny waxed car now is worth an estimated $25,000.

For the 25th annual show, Jackie Blanc said they are trying to make it even bigger and better, with possible burnout contests and other new events.

“Anyone is allowed to participate,” Jackie Blanc said. “If you are proud and want to show your car, we let you in. We don’t discriminate with anyone.”

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