Heads turn each time a classic car stops at a red light –— and for good reason. They are a reincarnation of a nostalgic era where their powerful, throaty rumbles represented freedom and adventure.
As Rock’n August has proven, nostalgia sells. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the region’s premiere classic car show, and despite a two-year pandemic, it hasn’t lost any traction. Criss-crossing St. Albert, the five-day event goes from Tuesday, Aug. 2 to Saturday, Aug. 6.
“There’s a little bit more electricity this year. It’s different. It has a spark. Our preregistrations are way ahead of last year, and we’re expecting a good turnout,” said Rick Dory, Rock’n August president. As a cruiser, he drives a sporty looking 2007 Mercedes SLK55.
Three successful drivers power the showcase. The first is an extraordinary selection of shiny roadsters, classic cars, muscle cars, pocket rockets, hot rods, street rods, sport cars, and monster trucks. The second are enthusiastic crowds eager to hear stories of beloved rust buckets restored as dream cars. Finally, the third element torquing the car showcase is a long-standing support of diabetes research.
Since its inception, Rock’n August set a goal of raising big dollars directed to diabetes research. To date, it has raised and donated $1.2 million.
Treasurer Cheryl Mackenzie, who also happens to have diabetes, said, “For me, that’s phenomenal. I’m on side with the organization, and I don’t think there’s a more successful event. We have twice as many registrations this year than last year. It’s going to be a good week. I feel very positive.”
This favourite summer-time tradition receives support from various organizations: the St. Albert & Edmonton Cosmopolitan Clubs, the St. Albert Cruisers, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce.
A fair number of businesses have also jumped on board with funding and resources to make the festivities a success, including Century Casino, Memories Funeral Home, A&W South, Ricky’s Grill, St. Albert Dodge, Fountain Tire and NAPA Auto Parts.
The kick-off Show & Shine takes place Tuesday at Century Casino, with a barbecue on a licensed patio from 5 to 9 p.m. Ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. include a draw for a 1969 Chevy Camaro, as well as the unveiling of the 2022-23 lottery car.
“The casino’s parking lot can fill about 300 to 400 cars. Any overflow parks on the boulevard,” Dory said.
The Oddibles, a foursome of professional musicians who sing solid-three-part harmonies, will provide entertainment mixing tunes spanning several decades and multiple genres.
Wednesday is dedicated to food. The day starts off with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast at Memories Funeral Home, followed by a barbecue lunch at the Fraternal Order of Eagles from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The evening closes with a trivia night and a Show & Shine at A&W scheduled from 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dean Ray, a country rock singer-songwriter from Red Deer, provides the night’s entertainment.
“It’s all classic car trivia. We get families involved. It’s really laid-back.”
Three events also take place on Thursday. Ricky’s All-Day Grill kicks off the day with an early morning breakfast at 7 a.m, and St. Albert Dodge once again signed up to host a two-hour barbecue starting at 11:30 a.m. Later in the evening, Fountain Tire navigates its customary Show & Shine at 5 p.m.
Friday always takes the festivities to a new level. NAPA has offered to host a short Show & Shine from 1 to 1:30 p.m, but the big event is the Classic Car Cruise that begins at NAKI Transit Centre and travels to downtown’s Perron District from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We usually park about 400 cars, but this year we’ve upped it to 600. Mind you, that depends on the weather. If the weather is good, everybody shows up. If it rains, some car owners don’t like to drive in the rain. It takes them forever to get the cars immaculate again,” said Dory.
Cars will park along St. Anne Promenade and the St. Albert Place parking lot. Once cars are positioned, a street dance revs up with nostalgic sounds of rock’n roll. This year’s entertainment is The Long Run, an energetic four piece performing an Eagles tribute.
The best is saved for last. Saturday’s Show & Shine at Lion’s Park is expected to draw about 900 machines in every colour and shape imaginable. While the show operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., many owners arrive early and park their vehicles at sunrise.
“They all have their own favourite spot, and if they want it, they get there bright and early. Some park in the shade. Some like the sun. Some like to park on a hill.”
With the Saturday Farmers’ Market acting as an additional draw, Dory expects big crowds this weekend.
“This is one of the biggest events St. Albert sees, and a premiere event for car enthusiasts. If you like cars, music, and laid-back fun, this is the place to be.”
Funding for diabetes research is collected from various streams including a 50/50 raffle and the sale of $5 buttons everyone is encouraged to wear at the events.
For complete information visit www.rocknaugust.com.