Car show set for downtown

Chad Frey
The Newton Car Show, which came into being after the Newton Downtown Car Show announced in 2019 it would not host another event, will be this weekend after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be a car show downtown on Saturday — a new car show that has undergone a delay.

The Newton Car Show will take over seven blocks of downtown on Saturday after postponing from May because of COVID-19.

“We had the four- or five-month delay. We never had any intention of canceling. We wanted to postpone until things got a little more normal,” said Brian Johnson, member of the Mid Kansas Muscle Car Group, which is hosting the event.

The car show was delayed after stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Laura Kelly in March to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Case numbers in the county have been on the steady increase, however, the county commission — also the board of health — has kept the county in “phase out” of a reopening plan for the past several weeks. That order was extended last week through mid September, along with an order for the wearing of facial coverings.

Two other downtown events — the annual Taste of Newton previously scheduled for October and the annual Harvey County United Way Chili Cook-Off previously scheduled for September — have canceled for 2020.

The car show, however, will go on. Gates are set to open at 7 a.m. Saturday.

“We have received preregistration every day for the last three weeks. We have received a lot of communication that people just want to get out of house,” Johnson said.

The car show website and social media encourages anyone wanting to be at the show to at least bring a mask — and to wear that mask if they go inside a business downtown.

“We are providing masks for people who are not having them. ... If you want to go into a business downtown, you need to wear your mask,” Johnson said. “We have hand santizers we will place throughout the show. We are outside, and spread over seven blocks so social distancing should not be an issue. People are not required to wear the mask outside (by show organizers), but if they feel they need too, they should.”

This car show came into being after the organizers of the traditional Newton Downtown Car Show announced retirement and not moving forward with a show. That announcement occurred in November 2019.

In 2005, the first year of the Newton Downtown Car Show, 80 cars were on display in two blocks of downtown, but it grew from there. The event routinely drew more than 300 vehicles into about six blocks of downtown, along with food vendors. During the show’s history, there have been concerts in the Fox Theatre, visits from the television show “Cruise Night in America” and a Friday night cruise night.

Robinson said the cruise night will continue, this year starting at 6 p.m. at Newton High School.

The Newton Downtown Car Show routinely drew more than 10,000 visitors to downtown during the several hours the show was open during its 15-year run downtown.

It is unclear what the change in the calendar or pandemic will mean for the new Newton Car Show.

“We have no idea what to expect,” Robinson said.