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Famous cars coming to town this weekend

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news Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Nash Bridges, the Green Hornet, the Dukes of Hazzard and Christine, the nightmarish vehicle dreamed up by Stephen King are coming to Farmington this weekend.

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Well, the shows' and movies' cars are anyways.

The Mopars cars (a type of car built with parts created by the Chrysler Group) that were featured in each movie or TV show will all be gathered at the Dakota County fairgrounds during the 26th annual Mopars in the Park car show June 5 and 6. Mopars in the Park is put on by Midwest Mopars, a non-profit car enthusiast club that's turned a small Mopar gathering into a national event.

More than 500 Mopars from all over the U.S. and Canada will be showcased during the two-day event, which will also feature some of the drag racing legends that made the car brand famous during the 1960s and '70s, according to Marigale Prokop, a member of the board of directors of Midwest Mopars.

"We're the third largest (car show) in the country for all-Mopar car shows," Prokop said.

This weekend marks the first time Black Beauty, the crime-fighting 1966 Chrysler Imperial featured on the Green Hornet television show will be shown to the public. There's also the 1971 Barracuda Convertible driven on Nash Bridges as well as one of the 1969 Dodge Chargers used in filming the original Dukes of Hazzard television series and the 1958 Plymouth Fury used in the movie "Christine," each car available for attendees to see.

One of the big new additions to the event calendar this year is the brand-new burnout contest, something that's been requested every year and will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. for those who want to compete.

A Mopar procession will head out of the fairgrounds at 6 p.m. Saturday, traveling through town to the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club in Prior Lake. Last year's procession stretched four blocks deep, according to Prokop, who invites the community to watch the Mopars cruise.

Another major attraction for all car enthusiasts is the roundtable discussion between some of the racing legends and engineers that made Mopars famous, happening at 4 p.m. Saturday. Featuring racing legends like Buch Leal, Tom Coddington, Don Grotheer and including Bob Cahill, one of the chief engineers at Chrysler who created the Mopar unit of operation. Cahill's also known for being the creative mind behind some of the most recognizable car achievements in motor history, including drafting the first planning letters for what would become the 426 HEMI motor engine.

It's a real treat to have drag racing celebrities come to the Mopars in the Park, according to Gary Richgruber, the chairman of the Mopars in the Park event.

"In the '60s and '70s Mopars pretty much dominated a lot of the classes in the drag strip," Richgruber said. It was in 1962 that Richgruber saw his first Mopar at the racetracks by Coon Rapids.

"Out comes the Dodge race cars, and they just blew away the competition," said Richgruber. "I thought, 'holy cow, they've got something going here.'"

Mopars in the Park takes place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 5 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 6. It costs $10 per day for attendees to enjoy the show, while children under 12 are let in free. Proceeds from the show will go towards local women's, children's, and armed forces service member families' charities. For more information, go to www.midwestmopars.com

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