WASILLA — The latest event in the City of Wasilla’s centennial celebration was the 49thState Street Rodders’ Centennial Car Show at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center on Friday and Saturday.
Dozens of cars and motorcycles were on display. The cars on display spanned decades with cars as old as the Oldsmobile Curved Dash Olds (first built in 1901 and was the first mass produced automobile) to more contemporary models like the 2017 Corvette. The show also had a guest appearance from Houston Fire Department’s vintage fire truck from the 1940’s. There was even a hearse that was decorated with green flames featuring a skeleton driver with its arm hanging casually on the door with the widows down, complete with sunglasses, a top hat and rose in its mouth.
Those that wished to get a taste of the Harley life were able to jump on Harley Davidson’s JUMPSTART Rider Experience, a “treadmill on steroids” that fuses a motorcycle to a stationary support stand. The bike was secured and would not tip over, allowing sample riders a feel for riding a bike safely without having any prior experience. There were trained staff on-site to guide would-be cyclers.
The Rodders brought their giant grill, decked out with traditional, biker red, orange and yellow flames and had large, shiny mufflers sticking out the top. They served hundreds of free burgers and hot dogs throughout the weekend.
Many Valley residents cycled through the show, some in unison with the ongoing Summerfest, the mini-festival with rides, food, and games. The car show was hosted by the 49th State Street Rodders, a non-profit car club based Palmer. To be a part of the club varies slightly to members but they seem to share a common consensus.
“For me, it’s about the cameraderie — people with the same interest as you,” said John Holcomb, long-time member of the Rodders. “And, it’ keeps ya busy and out of trouble.”
“It’s like our motto says: ‘Just having fun,’ and learning about other people’s cars, and the history,” said Art Keller, another long-time member.
According to Holcomb, the car club and its associated events are a “throwback to our youth.”
With cars from different eras and decades spent building them, the Centennial Car show was a historic exhibition, another chapter of Wasilla’s 100 years in existence.