Continental Car Show: Skippack’s Summer Car Show
Where: Skippack Village (Hotel Fiesole parking lot); just come to town.
What to expect:A beautiful display of cool cars throughout the village. Activities include: food, music, face painting, crafts for sale, a car corral where you can sell your vehicle, a chance to vote for your favorite auto, awards ceremony, face painting all day and much more.
Contact: 610 – 584 – 6004
Owners of antique, classic, restored, and elite cars to display: Register in advance for the car show
(Scroll down for more about the Continental Car Show)
Where would a town like Skippack be, had the automobile not existed?
It was the automobile that enabled common people to leave crowded cities and move in large numbers to the suburbs, allowing places like Skippack and thousands of other smaller communities to prosper and flourish. How fitting then that twice a year in Skippack, once in spring and once in fall, we celebrate the automobile. The next celebration is Sunday, June 3, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, rain date Sunday, June 10 (updated for 2012).
The Skippack Car Show is one of my all-time favorite local events. I decide to seek out Michael Casale, the owner of Silver Star Auto Haus in Skippack and one of a group of people responsible for organizing and running the car show. (Note: Mike is working with Megan Clemmer and Cindy Stauffer, event coordinators for Skippack).
Mike’s office and auto shop looks as if about to morph into an automobile museum, the rooms are filled with car memorabilia and car-related books and magazines. Auto-themed artwork, traffic signs, and multi-colored license plates cover the walls. Mike Casale seems a cross between a car mechanic and a museum guide, as knowledgeable about the history of the automobile as he is about restoring and preserving cars, and also quite dedicated to the town of Skippack.
“So, Mike, tell me about the classic car show.”
He patiently explains that my question is not the right question. The car show in Skippack is not a classic car show. In the car show world, the term classic has a very specific meaning, referring to antique autos that have become cultural icons, for example:
- The ‘57 Chevy
- The ‘55 Mercedes Gullwing (a gorgeous, cream-colored example of this beauty, originally owned by movie actor Tony Curtis, is pictured at right inside the Silver Star Auto Haus)
- The ‘58 Corvette
- The ’65 Shelby Cobra
In fact, the specific cars deemed worthy of the label classic are determined by a group of people in the Classic Car Club of America. By contrast, the Skippack Continental Car Show is a more open tent, allowing for a much wider variety of auto manufacturers and models, including modern day cars.
Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories such as:
- Preserved cars, this category recognizes an antique auto that is well maintained
- Best of each decade
- Custom hot rod
- Best engine
- Best interior
- Best tailgate display with the trunk or hatch open
- People’s choice (we get to vote)
Unlike many car shows which award only a trophy, a fairly useless object, Skippack also offers winning car owners gift baskets, some of which contain donations from local merchants.
For knowledgeable folk like Mike Casale, there will be plenty of opportunity to speak with enthusiasts about engine displacement, custom coachwork, luxury accessories, muffler cut outs, roadsters, window straps, cabriolets and other topics related to automobile restoration and automobile history. For people like me whose comments will be no more sophisticated than “wow, that’s a cool car” there will be live music, outdoor cooking, and crafts for sale. For children, there will be a special appearance by Spiderman from 12-1pm and face painting all day.
Toward the end of our talk, I ask Mike Casale what makes a car show such a special and enjoyable event. His answer is thought-provoking.
“Everyone of us at some point in our lives has a special relationship with a four-wheeled vehicle of one kind or another,” he says. “It’s a fundamental part of the way we live. Then he adds, “It is the car that chooses the owner, as much as the owner who chooses the car.”
As I write my post, Mike Casale’s meaning becomes clearer to me. The automobile has always been about more than transportation, but its significance is different for each of us, depending upon our own identity.
Consider the soccer mom with her van full of children; the young executive coasting to success in a option-loaded luxury status symbol; the sixteen or seventeen year old firing up the ignition, hearing the sounds of adulthood and freedom; the contractor and landscaper asserting his working identity in a pick up with his business’s name proudly displayed; the middle-aged man seeing in a red sports car the last flicker of fading youth and on and on: An infinity of meanings tied the vehicles that carry us to work, recreation, errands, visits and appointments.
At the Skippack car show, we will not just see beautiful examples of design and engineering innovation, preserved for generations to come. In the glossy finishes, chrome, mirrors and glass, we will see reflections of ourselves, as residents of and visitors to Skippack, as Americans, as citizens of the world and as individuals.