ARLINGTON – You’ve got to get up pretty early to find parking during the annual Show ‘n Shine Car Show along Olympic Avenue.
Just ask car buff Steve Holden of Marysville.
“I was up at 4 a.m. on show day to park on the street right by the Blue Bird Cafe so I can get coffee and eat breakfast,” Holden said, adding, “A lot of people have the same idea.”
His 1931 Ford Model A Coupe was one of over 275 cars that lined Olympic for several blocks at the 20th annual Show ‘n Shine Chosted by the Downtown Arlington Business Association June 7-8.
The body is a cruiser’s delight – Dick’s Drive-In orange, with blue flames and a polished silver 1966 401 Buick motor.
“When people see it they say, ‘That car should’ve been in American Graffiti,’” Holden said.
The event drew hundreds of car enthusiasts for a stroll down memory lane, admiring decked-out dream cars and classic rides of yesteryear.
Event organizers with DABA added a pre-show Friday evening to give drivers some time to cruise and get together in a beer garden in Legion Park.
Early arrivals Friday took shelter from the downpour under the gas pump awning at the Old Howell service station at Olympic and 4th Street. The garage served as registration central for the car show and to pick up T-shirts and other event memorabilia.
Cristy Brubaker, event coordinator and DABA secretary, said they ignored the foul weather, and so too did the participants. The show had 104 registrations by 6 p.m. Friday.
The car show is a family tradition for Brubaker. Her parents, Ken and Shirley Countryman, started the event. “They had a business downtown, retired and then the business association took it over. My folks saw it as a way to get people to come downtown.”
At the sign-in tables, a granddaughter and daughter-in-law helped car owners register and get their goodies.
“The Show ‘n Shine Car Show is just a nice community event, and this year’s event went really well,” Brubaker said. “You can come down here with your kids and enjoy all the cars, and talk with the drivers.”
The cars hail from around the Northwest including Omak, Lopez Island, Bellingham, Seattle, Maple Valley, Oak Harbor and Bremerton. The turnout is high based on good word of mouth, Brubaker said, and passing out postcards at Cruzin’ to Colby and other car shows outside the region.
The rain dampened the enthusiasm for cruising Olympic, but the occasional peeling truck tires on wet pavement and revving of a hot rod engine drowned out the classic car music performed by the Jimmy Wright Band at Legion Park.
Saturday carried on the spirit of classic car culture with a performance from Danny Vernon as Elvis on the Legion Park Stage.
Brubaker said people visit the event because they like the cars and the community.
Holden grew up in Edmonds in the 1960s, where cruising Sunset on the waterfront was where you showed off your wheels and met girls.
“Arlington reminds me a lot about Edmonds when I was a kid,” Holden said. “I like old towns like Arlington. They remind me of my childhood.”
His dad was a body and fender mechanic, so he grew up around cars. He smiled when he recalled his favorite cruising routes, including Colby, Golden Gardens, Alki Beach and of course, Dick’s Drive-In on 45th Street in Seattle.
Holden’s Model A Coupe is a two-time Good Guys winner. “Getting picked out of 2,500 cars is a pretty good deal,” he said, but after a five-year hiatus away from DABA’s car show, he didn’t come to win an award.
“I just like driving the car, I like hanging around with the car guys and talking cars, and basically just being around this way of life,” he said.
Lindsay Dunn of Arlington, a newcomer participant to car shows, called Show ‘n Shine a great event.
A Navy veteran, Dunn parked his red ‘34 Ford 2-Door Sedan with maroon fenders to display near the service station and promote VFW Post 1561 in Arlington for the support they give in the community and to veterans.