In about two weeks downtown main street will be over run with classic cars — three blocks of street will be closed for the annual Newton Downtown Car Show.
It is an event that has grown steadily for 10 years — thanks to planning and promotion year round.
“We usually go to 15 or 20 car shows in the area and promote our car show with a special screen printed shop towel with all the Newton Car Show information and showing the major sponsors” said Dave Baughman, one of the show organizers. “We’ve handed out nearly 1,000 of the ad towels to all the best cars we see at those shows”.
The 10th annual show will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 — Main Street from Fifth to Seventh Streets will be closed for the show, with hundreds of cars expected to be there. Nearly 60 cars have pre-registered for the show already.
“Our early entries have come from New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and all over Central Kansas” said Mike White, one of the show organizers. “We usually have over 120 pre-entries every year, but this year more cars are expected because It’s become one of Kansas’ Premier Car Shows”
Admission to the show is free for those who want to see the cars. Awards will be given at about 3:30 p.m.
In the first year, expectations were for a few dozen cars and a show about two blocks long. There were 80 cars, but the show started growing. In 2009 organizers had to turn entries away. There just wasn't enough space on the street for every car owner who showed up. Losing a $25 entry fee for each of those added up pretty quickly for a show that was a fund-raiser for the Fox Theatre.
In 2010 the show asked for another block of main — and it was granted. By 2012 more than 300 cars entered the show — with an estimate of 10,000 visitors to come see the show.
"The Newton Downtown Car Show has grown quite a bit in the last 10 years and it has a big economic impact on our community," Baughman said. "Nearly all of the downtown merchants support the largest annual event in town bringing over 10,000 visitors a year."
This year the show is adding festivities for Friday night — in addition to the second "Cruise Night" starting at 6:30 p.m. May 2, "American Graffiti" will shown at the Historic Fox Theatre at 8 p.m. Movie tickets are $5 per person.
“'American Graffiti' is a cult classic for car buffs and hot rodders of the day” White said.
The cruise will start at the Newton High School parking lot and drive down Main Street.
"It’s always a lot of fun and there’s lots of folks downtown watching and taking photos of all the cool looking cars as they drive by,” Baughman said.
Registration forms to enter a car are available at both Primetime Convenience stores, Mike’s Rent to Own, Ochs Quality Cleaners, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, Midwest Sound & Security and online at: www.NewtonDowntownCarShow.com