Saturday , August 09, 2014 - 7:17 AM
BRIGHAM CITY — Organizers are tossing around the word “biggest” for the car show that serves as the finale here at the annual Peach Days festival.
“It’s possibly the largest free car show in the western United States,” said Monica Holdaway, executive director of the Brigham City Area Chamber of Commerce, now overseeing her 13th Peach Days. “It’s important to keep the word ’free’ in there. You don’t have to pay to get in, and you don’t have to pay to get your car in.”
The show, a creature of the local car club -- Bonnevills Rods & Customs Car Club (bonnevillscarclub.org) -- now numbers 1,000 or more cars and trucks in more than 35 categories.
The last couple of years, Peach Days planners have had to free up more space for the car-fest show, meaning blocking off more of Forest Street, the city’s main east-west thoroughfare.
The show now requires closing off the street all the way to 800 West, from 300 West. The vehicle extravaganza also fills up both Watkins Park and Pioneer Park, which straddle Forest at 600 West.
“It’s crazy,” said Holdaway. ““It’s like a second event for Peach Days. There are people who just come for the car show. Only rain seems to keep it from growing each year. They won’t bring out their nice cars in the rain.”
This a long way from the show’s humble beginnings on the Brigham LDS Tabernacle lawn in 1979.
“Back then, it was only 20 or 30 cars,” said Cassie Wood, of Brigham, show chairwoman the last three years, and involved in putting on the show the last 26 years with her husband.
They’ve also resurrected the Bonnevills car club eight years ago, which had started in Brigham in the 1960s.
They’ve even kept the original spelling, still wondering where it came from. “We haven’t figured that one out yet,” she said.
Vehicles come from the surrounding states as well as the locals for the Bonnevills show, she said. “It’s just getting so big, I’m beginning to wonder how far its going to go.”
Vehicle hobbyists have grown in numbers in general during the same time frame of the Brigham show’s growth, she said. Twenty five years ago, she said, car shows or car club cruises were three and four weeks apart. Now there’s one or the other somewhere in Utah or the contiguous states virtually every night, she said.
Her family just returned from the Hot August Nights car show in Reno, a paid show that draws easily 2,000 or more cars. “Every casino has a car show for a full week,” Wood said.
Peach Days, which runs Sept. 3-6, with the car show the last day, started in 1904 as a day off from the harvest and is considered the longest-running town celebration in the state. It was started by the Chamber of Commerce’s progenitor, the Box Elder Commercial Club.
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister
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