Downtown Seymour was abuzz all afternoon and rocking all night Saturday as hundreds took advantage of picture perfect weather to check out some great cars and music.
The 13th annual Cars and Guitars show featured 253 vehicles, including Walter Gerth’s jet black 1927 Ford Roadster, lining several downtown streets.
Gerth, who lives in nearby North Vernon, built the car himself and was busy all day answering everyone’s questions about the vehicle. He also received a lot of compliments.
“That’s kind of the thing that makes you feel good,” he said as the show was wrapping up. “I know it’s something I built and for people to think it looks good and take the time to give me a compliment, it really does make you feel good.”
A car enthusiast his whole life and regular participant in Cars and Guitars, Gerth also likes going to the show to see other cars.
“It’s great what people have here,” he said. “There’s some really neat stuff here.”
Gerth spent time Saturday afternoon making his way through the crowded streets of downtown to see hot rods, muscle cars, modern cars and many others.
“Just going through is neat to see the variety,” he said.
The 1927 Roadster was an idea that had popped into Gerth’s head several years ago and the process of creating what he had imagined took him about a year-and-a-half to complete. He now shows the car and uses it regularly to travel the region to do simple things going out to dinner with his wife.
“This car was a vision I had and it’s exactly what I wanted,” he said.
He had to search far and wide to find parts, ordering some from California and traveling to Florida for others. But it’s all been worth it, he said.
“I have fun with it and that’s what I built it for,” he added.
Gerth said he likes Cars and Guitars because it is a non-competitive event, where people simply gather to share a common interest in cars.
“I like the cruise-ins because you don’t worry about trophies; you know you go to a car show and can win trophies, but when someone comes by and tells you that you have a cool looking car, that’s the best trophy there is,” he said. “When I come here I see a lot of my friends and even ones I went to high school with.”
Gary Colglazier, an organizer of the event, said he thinks that’s why it is a popular event among local and regional car enthusiasts.
“We have door prizes, but this is not a judged car show,” he said. “You can bring what you want; there are no classes. We don’t care what make, model or year you have, just bring it.”
Colglazier said the event also is popular for those who want to simply walk through and look.
“Seymour and southern Indiana are full of (car) buffs,” he said. “I think people really love to come out and look at the old cars.”
The event is a great one for downtown Seymour, but also serves a great cause. Over the last 13 years, the event has raised more than $80,000 for handicapped-accessible playground equipment in the Seymour parks.
Since the later part of the 2000s, the organization has installed the equipment at Shields and Gaiser Parks. This year, the organization installed equipment at Kessler Park. The organization will now wait a few years to build up funds and decide where to put the next playground.
For Colglazier, the issue is somewhat personal because he drives a special needs bus for Seymour Community School Corp. He said being able to help provide the playground equipment is a rewarding experience.
“We all have children, have known children or have been associated with children that have physical disabilities and at the time, it wasn’t something Seymour had,” he said of the playgrounds. “It’s just really heartwarming to know these kids will have this equipment and get to enjoy it.”
Jerasu Hudson’s granddaughter, Kaly, has spinal muscular atrophy and she is thankful the Cars and Guitars committee thinks about physically challenged children in the community.
“Our family deeply appreciates that they are thinking of the physically challenged,” she said. Hudson said she is not surprised her community is so thoughtful.
“Anytime we have dealt with the city for accessibility issues, they have always accommodated,” she said.
Colglazier said the weather helped Saturday’s turnout for the event and many stuck around for the free concert, which featured The Retros from Indianapolis. The group covered a wide range of songs from the 1960s and 1970s that had many tapping their toes to the tunes. The band also played car-themed songs.
Colglazier was happy it wasn’t too hot.
“We’ve had some good years where we have been comfortable, but there have been some where it is really hot,” he said, adding there has only been one washout. “Today we can’t complain. This is definitely the best weather we have ever had.”