By Richard Rourk
The year 2020 has been a year full of cancellations, but for one event that’s been 60 years in the making, even a pandemic won’t stop gearheads from gathering.
The 60th Annual Southeastern Autorama will take place in downtown Erwin, on Saturday, Oct. 17, and, according to Southeastern Autorama President Joey Bailey, the event will give many automobile enthusiasts a much-needed break from quarantine.
“We think the turnout will be great this year simply due to the fact we have been missing the car show season,” Bailey said. “The weather has cooled off and hopefully we will have sunshine on Saturday for a change and that should help our turnout. As always, it’s hard to predict how many cars we will have, but we are hopeful that Main Street and Love Street will be full.”
Bailey said event organizers are planning to ensure a safe gathering.
“As far as safety, we encourage spectators to observe social distancing guidelines and there will be plenty of hand sanitizer on hand …,” Bailey said.
The 60th Annual Southeastern Autorama promises to be a time to celebrate the people who have paved the way for today’s members.
“Since this is our 60th annual show, we have some special awards to honor members who have passed away and these awards will be picked or given out by family members,” Bailey said. “That’s our way of paying homage to the ones who helped make 60 years possible. We lost a member since last year’s show, Bobby Bennett, and we are dedicating this show to his memory.”
According to Southeastern Autorama member Keldon Clapp, dedicated individuals help make the event a reality.
“It has taken a lot of very good people,” Clapp said. “The show started in 1960 at the Top Hat drive-in and moved to downtown Erwin. The show then moved to the high school and is now back downtown. The Town of Erwin has been so good to us.”
For Clapp, every year is a surprise.
“We welcome all vehicles – if it has an engine and wheels they are welcome,” Clapp said. “We even had a Ford GT40 one year.”
Model A Mac’s owner Mike McIntosh is planning on bringing a 1928 Model A Ford truck and a 1930 Model A Ford Phaeton to Saturday’s event.
“We actually used these vehicles last week for my sister in law’s wedding, so they are ready to go,” McIntosh said.
This year’s Southeastern Autorama offers something for everyone, according to Bailey.
“We will have food trucks on site, as well as several craft vendors,” Bailey added. “We will have live music starting at noon with awards starting around 3 p.m. This is a free show, both for car owners as well as spectators, but we are accepting donations. There will be a 50/50 drawing to benefit our annual scholarship fund.”
If you are interested in joining the Southeastern Autorama, please contact the organization through its Facebook page. The group meets on the last Tuesday of the month.
Registration for the 60th Annual Southeastern Autorama will start at 7 a.m. in downtown Erwin, this Saturday, Oct. 17. Spectators should come around 9 a.m. and prizes will be awarded at around 3 p.m.