On high beam: 11th Annual Car Show continues to grow in Charles Town
CHARLES TOWN — At mid-day on Saturday, Charles Town officials were still getting calls to see if it was too late to enter a car in the 11th Annual Car Show. According to City Manager Daryl Hennessy, more than 400 vehicles were lined up along Washington Street and several side streets. Thousands of pedestrians roamed the streets to eye their favorite cars.
According to Charles Town Operations Manager Todd Wilt, the show is a self-judge event, meaning all those who entered vehicles in the show selected their top 10 favorites from all of the other entrees. Once all of the silent ballots were collected, they were tallied to determine trophy winners.
In addition to the self-judging portion of the show, several businesses sponsored trophies and selected the car or truck they deemed the worthiest for their prize.
Outside of the car show, a number of other activities were happening in the downtown area, including the Jefferson County Museum being open and Abolitionist Ale hosting a beer garden.
Heading up the Kid Zone this year was Karen Scott, a volunteer with Charles Town Now as well as the Wright Denny K-Kids, South Jefferson K-Kids, Charles Town Middle School Builders and the Washington High School Key Club. Youth members of each of those organizations helped organize games, crafts and contests.
“These kids are running everything,” Scott said proudly.
While the young people were entertaining themselves, car owners showed off their vehicles throughout the downtown area.
J.R. Thomas, of Gerrardstown, entered his 1955 Chevy.
“I’ve been a regular at this show. I got there this morning at 6 a.m. to make sure I got a good spot,” Thomas said, explaining cars filled in spaces on a first-come, first-served basis.
When asked about his top 10 picks for the end-of-day trophies, Thomas shrugged.
“It’s hard to pick just 10, with this many cars to choose from,” he said.
Town Council member James Kratovil said the car show continues to grow every year. While Kratovil is new to the council, he is a long-time resident of downtown Charles Town.
“I was awoken by the roar of engines around 6 a.m.,” Kratovil said. “I have enjoyed the show for years.”
Kratovil recognized the efforts of former Mayor Peggy Smith, who was in office when the first show was held.
“I think Peggy is a genius,” Kratovil said. “She fostered and babied this event.”
Smith, who was a spectator this year, said she came to enjoy herself this year.
“It makes me really happy, the way it has grown,” Smith said. “The first year we were hoping for 50 cars and we had 150. I never thought it would get this big.”
At the end of the day, several car owners received trophies and plaques. The big winner for the day, taking home the Charles Town Cup, was Valerie Liston, of Charles Town. Her 1964 Chevrolet Corvair convertible took the prize.
Jefferson County Community Ministries may have been a bigger winner, however, as it will be the recipient of the 2019 show’s proceeds. A check, Wilt said, will be presented within the next few weeks at a council meeting.