Classic street rod show is planned for downtown
After two years of trying, Jim Johns is finally getting his car show.
The show, a collection of street rods built in 1964 or earlier, will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday on Second Street in downtown Farmington.
Late last week Johns still did not to know what to expect from the show. He has commitments from about 40 people, and he has put flyers out for the past month at other shows in the area. He said the two-block stretch of Oak Street from Second to Third will hold 125 cars, but considering what he has gone through to make the show happen, Johns will be happy just to see some cars show up Sunday morning.
Johns, who does not live in Farmington but has friends in the area, first started thinking about a Farmington show more than three years ago. He made his first attempts at organizing something two years ago and last fall thought he would have something ready to go. But while some of the downtown auto shops were interested in the idea, other businesses were less enthusiastic. Johns had trouble finding people willing to help pay for the portable bathrooms necessary for the event, and the idea died.
This year, though, Johns decided he was going to hold the event whether or not he had help paying the bills. He put up the money for a permit and for the bathrooms.
"This is basically my gift to Farmington, taking it out of my pocket the first time," Johns said. "It's an experiment. It might blow up in my face."
Johns, who has restored two pick-up trucks for himself and is working on a Nash Rambler for a friend, does not think that will happen. He regularly attends similar events in St. Paul and White Bear Lake and he has seen them bring hundreds of people
both car owners and spectators
into a city. He figures if something similar happens Sunday it will only benefit Farmington businesses.
"That's how people end up at restaurants and bars," he said. "It works in White Bear Lake. It works in St. Paul. There's no reason it won't work in Farmington."
Johns plans to videotape Sunday's event and show the tape to the Farmington City Council over the winter in hopes of turning the show into a weekly event next year. He also hopes Sunday's event will convince some downtown businesses it is worth their money to support future shows.
Johns said one of the Twin Cities' most popular ongoing car shows, based at Porky's Drive-in on University Avenue, could disappear as early as next year if Porky's closes, something he said looks likely. Johns sees a regular Farmington show as a potential replacement.
Johns said the people who attend shows such as the one he have planned do not come with trouble on their mind. Most just want to show off their restoration work and see the jobs others have done. Johns also hopes the show will interest younger generations in the art of restoring old cars.
There is no entry fee for the people who bring cars to show and no admission charge for the public.
"You want to tell people, geez, you can do this, too," Johns said. "We're trying to get younger people involved.
"If I don't promote this, where am I going to take my truck on a Saturday night?" he said. "This (show) is for the stooges like me who have something sitting in the garage and want to talk about it."