Car show seeking a return to spring

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Delayed from May to August, Newton Car Show organizers are seeking a return to May for 2021.

The Newton Car Show will return to the spring in 2021, setting a date of May 1. 

"The first Saturday in May is when it has been for 15 years," said Brian Robinson, one of the show organizers. "Everyone knows that is the weekend. It is in the books already and no need to change it."

The city of Newton will be asked to approve an event permit for the car show for May 1, 2021, during the consent agenda portion of its meeting Tuesday.

The show, which was launched in 2020 after the organizers of the Newton Downtown Car Show retired in 2019 and did not find a group or buyer to take over those operations, was moved to fall in 2020 in response to COVID-19 and community closures in April and May of 2020. 

The Mid Kansas Muscle Car group organized The Newton Car Show for the first weekend in May of 2020 after waiting several months for someone else to take control of The Downtown Newton Car Show. The car club had formed in 2019, with weekly events in the North Dillons parking lot. 

"Our intent of taking it over is it was dropped, and it was too big of an event to let go," Robinson said. "The community backed us last year and we had an abundance of sponsorship. We have begun that process. Our objective is to make it bigger and better than last."

In 2005, the first year of the downtown 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.

It grew to more than 300 vehicles and took up six blocks of downtown. 

On Aug. 22, 2020, there were about 270 cars downtown for those who ventured out for the event.

"There were  a lot of people moving up and down the street that Saturday, it was a good event for everyone," Robinson said. 

“It was a steady, spaced out crowd,” said Melody Spurney, the director of the Newton Convention and Tourism Bureau. “People were happy to get out and have something to do. ... It was uneventful, which is good.”

 The car show was only event of that scale in downtown 2020 as COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of nearly every event in downtown. The annual United Way Chili Cook-Off and Newton Chamber of Commerce Taste of Newton, the other two large events downtown, have canceled their fall events.