POWNAL — A three-day car show will rumble and roar onto the former racetrack this week.
Green Mountain Car Show and Swapmeet organizers anticipate a wide variety of cars and motorcycles, and vendors. Planned activities include a spark plug changing contest. And organizers say the event will fill a void left by the cancelling of the Bennington Car Show two years ago.
The event will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16-18, at the former Green Mountain Race Track on Route 7 in Pownal. Gates will be open each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $7. Car registration costs $10 in advance and day-of. Vendor spots for all three days costs $60.
There are no class or year restrictions for the show, said organizer Albert "Bert" Brown. It's a show to celebrate all types of cars in various condition — whether it's a flashy hot-rod that you spent months or years building, or a work-in-progress that you want to show to the world.
"From primer to shiner, we want to see them all," Brown said in an interview at the racetrack on Wednesday. The show is sponsored by the Bennington Cruisers, a group formed in response to the Bennington Car Show's cancellation in 2015, Brown said.
Attendees will choose their favorite cars and 30 award plaques will be given out. The first 75 cars to arrive will get dash plaques. Brown said he wasn't sure how many cars will be there, but that the racetrack area will have enough room to handle them all. He said he expects many people to register their cars at the gate.
Attendee parking, a food court area with picnic tables, and the car display space will occupy the south end of the racetrack property, between the Hoosic River and the solar arrays. One contest will have attendees vying for the title of "Fastest Spark Plug Changer in the Northeast" as they race to switch out the important components from an engine block. Another will have them racing each other on creepers, the wheeled contraption that mechanics lay on when they work underneath cars.
It's not the same event as the Bennington Car Show, having a different name and organizers. But this weekend marks what would have been the 50th year of the Bennington Car Show, which started in 1966. The Bennington Chamber of Commerce hosted it with civic organizations, car clubs and other local partners. The chamber announced in March 2015 it would not organize what would have been the 48th year. Chamber officials said at the time it was a labor intensive event to coordinate; that they had fewer volunteers; and the show's popularity had waned.
Brown, Bruce "Moose" Bell and a handful of others were at the racetrack on Wednesday to set up. Both men said they grew up immersed in "car culture." Brown said Bell's uncle taught him a lot about what he knows about cars. And the Bennington Car Show was a highlight of the year.
"It should be a family — like minds and people who love the same stuff," Bell said.
Mary Muckle, owner of the former Rehm-Brandt's Design in Bennington, was helping to lay out vendor spaces. She said she was taken by Brown's enthusiasm for putting on the event. Local businesses — restaurants, hotels and merchants — will benefit from a car show, she said.
Brown and Bell gave much thanks to people who want to see the car show succeed. Some people sent unsolicited donations. And local businesses have offered price deals or in-kind services on plaques, signs and banners.
"It's friends helping friends," Brown said.
For more information, contact Bert Brown at 802-681-3039, or visit http://greenmountaincarshow.com orthe Facebook event page: Green Mountain Carshow and Swapmeet.
Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.