INNISFAIL – Ken Sack goes to many car shows. He proudly loves showing them off.
Eight months ago, the Carstairs vintage automobile enthusiast acquired a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500, complete with power seats and windows, which only two per cent of them had when first coming off the assembly line 64 years ago.
“It’s a collector’s item,” said Sack, who also owns a 1956 Meteor convertible, one of only 479 ever built that year in Canada. “I drive them all the time, both of them.”
Sack’s prized 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 was one of many dozens of vintage vehicles registered for the 2021 Innisfail Kinsmen Car Show. It was a one-day event on Sept. 12 that succeeds the once celebrated two-day Weekend of Wheels.
The Innisfail Kinsmen, along with the Kinette Club of Innisfail, had hosted the Weekend of Wheels since 2016. Before then, the Weekend of Wheels, created and organized by the now defunct Innisfail Downtown Association, went from 2011 to 2015.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID restrictions but is back and rebranded as the Innisfail Kinsmen Car Show.
“The reason for that is that we are not doing the two days. It’s just one day for the car show,” said Kinsmen Russ Klemmer, co-chair of the rebranded event, adding the 100-foot shoot-out is no longer part of its package.
“It had to do with not being able to find a provider, and manpower. It took a lot of people to do the 100-foot shoot-out part. It’s unfortunate.”
Nevertheless, the car show went on this year in Innisfail on Sept. 12, which is the second Sunday of September; it’s traditional day.
The 2021 event officially began at 9 a.m. and went until 3 p.m. on a closed off Main Street between 49 and 51 avenues. Although the weather did not fully cooperate in the early morning hours, many car enthusiasts attended anyway to admire the many vintage vehicles, from antiques, to custom built, imports, trucks, motorcycles and at least one military vehicle.
To help take the chill away from the early morning gloomy weather there were several food trucks nearby providing hot coffee and snacks.
Klemmer said it was difficult at first to estimate how many vehicles would attend as there was no pre-registration but estimated there would be about 100 from vehicle owners more than happy to pay the more than reasonable $10 registration fee.
“We had everything set up and had cars rolling in as early as eight o’clock, and we took cars right to the end,” said Klemmer, estimating that with the inclement weather playing a factor for attendance, about 100 vehicles would be brought in.
“The last event that we ran in 2019 we were just over 200.”
And all registered vehicle owners for the car show were eligible to win an award. There were eight of them, everything from Favourite Custom vehicle to Favourite Rat Rod, car, truck, motorcycle, import and antique. As well, there was the People’s Choice Award with attendees able to vote by buying $1 tickets.
“It brings people out. You get a chance to mingle with other car people, motorcycle people and all those different types of automobiles,” he said. “It is a bond.”
As for COVID, Klemmer said organizers made sure everyone followed all Alberta Health Services guidelines, and participants and attendees were also encouraged to social distance. Masking was optional.
“The next part was that since we are able to do it, let’s get it open. Let’s run it. Let’s try and start shifting towards a newer normal,” said Klemmer, emphasizing the car show will continue being a premier annual event for the community and out-of-town guests.
“Absolutely. As far as the Kinsmen? Yes, this will keep going,” he said.