First-annual Chestertown car show rolls into park

By Erica Quinones

News Editor


CarShow_MarkCooleyEDITEDOn Sept. 14, the 300 block of High Street and Fountain Park were filled with 98 cars, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the first showcase since the appearance of Chestertown’s first car in August 1899.

More than a century after the “horseless carriage” was unveiled next to the town’s iconic fountain, Jon and Barbara Slocum organized the first Chestertown Car Show with volunteers from the community and sponsorship from Main Street Chestertown.

“We decided after two years that it was time to have a car show in town,” Jon Slocum said. “The whole premise is to get the cars out for two reasons: to develop some car culture and interest in cars as well as to bring people downtown.”

The couple also founded Chestertown’s monthly Cars on High program three years ago. There, they met some of the people who would participate and volunteer in the car show, including Washington College seniors Xaeza Olt and Lauren Frick.

Olt, who is president of the Washington Automotive Club, met the Slocums during the first year of Cars on High. At the time, he was driving his 1989 Fiat X19 when they waved him over and convinced him to show his car.

Frick also met the Slocums through Cars on High, but for a less recreational reason. She was in the ethnographic method class in fall 2018, and for her final project, she decided to study automotive culture in Chestertown, which drew her to the program.

Cars on High hosts a “tremendous spread of cars,” according to Jon Slocum, and the car show mimicked that spread. They represented this variety in their award spread which included nine categories and six special awards.

They awarded Best in Class trophies for vintage  automobiles from the 1940s and older; classic domestic and imported cars that were model years 1941-1975; modern domestic and imported cars years 1976 to 2019; trucks and off-roaders; Pro Street cars that were modified for drag racing; Work in Progress cars that  are still under construction; and the most hyped category by Frick and Olt, the Survivor category which were original and unmodified vehicles from 1989 and before.

“It is really impressive stuff, and sometimes you get to see some really clean ones that are just like the day they were bought. Then you get to see some that are really beat up and look like they have been abused for 30 years, and I think both are entertaining,” Olt said.

Frick was more interested in the stories Survivor cars carried.

“These are cars that have been cherished by their owners for decades and have probably been passed down through generations,” Frick said. “They have a lot of history. Owners of Survivor class cars usually have great stories to tell.”

The cars spanned from a vivid purple 1927 Ford Roadster to the 2017 Acura NSX to a 1930 Alfa Romeo.

Other rare finds, like a purple 1998 Pontiac Trans Am, one of 84 produced, also could be found in the mix.

But the event was not only for gearheads of old, but the next generation.

Raffles and wine were available for adults, while kids indulged in a scavenger hunt and painted hubcaps.

As the day wound down, trophies were awarded.

Besides the five judges that picked the Best in Class awards, mechanic Mike Wright, Chestertown Arts and Entertainment, Main Street Chestertown, Chief of Police Adrian Baker, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, and Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino all selected special winners with a final award designated for the winner of the Name That Part trivia contest.

For the core categories, the judges named a 1929 Ford Model-A as Best in Class for the Vintage category; a 1968 El Camino in Classic Domestics; the Alpha Romeo in Classic Imports; a 2014 blue Challenger Hellcat in Modern Domestics; the Acura NSX in Modern Imports; a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado in Trucks and Off-Road; a black 1975 Chevrolet Malibu in Pro Street; a 1962 Thunderbird that had to be pushed into its space for Work in Progress; and a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle in Survivor.

Amongst the special awards, Wright chose a 1935 Ford Pickup; Arts and Entertainments picked a 2016 Cadillac CTS-V; Main Street Chestertown selected a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air; the Fire Company chose a 1965 Shelby Cobra; Chief Baker selected a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air; and Mayor Cerino selected a 1958 Bel Air.


There was no Name that Part winner. Instead, the trophy was awarded to a little girl and her bright pink push car.

Mayor Cerino ended the event expressing his hopes that the car show will return in 2020.

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