Old Car Festival Draws Large Crowds to Vicksburg

car & bean soup
A group from the Antique Tractor organization cook bean soup the old-fashioned way.

By Sue Moore

Thousands of people troop to Vicksburg in new cars to see the hundreds of old cars filling the parking slots on Main and Prairie Streets each year. The 38th year of the Old Car Festival on Saturday, June 9 will be preceded by the usual Cruise Night in the early evening Friday, rain or shine.

Skip and Carol Knowles assisted by a crew of volunteers make things happen both days. There is a judging by anyone visiting and walking the streets. They can vote on which car is the best in its category, with prizes awarded Saturday about 3 p.m.

To keep folks entertained, the Vicksburg High School jazz bands will perform at the four corners of downtown during the early afternoon. There will be an arts and crafts show in Clark Park, where there is shade and usually a nice breeze. There are food vendors with elephant ears, cotton candy and other treats to sell along with local churches and nonprofit organizations offering specialty foods. People seem to flock to Apple Knockers for ice cream and enjoy its rendition of a hot dog eating contest at 2 p.m. in their parking lot on W. Prairie Street. The annual Duck Derby in Clark Park takes place at 12 p.m. and there will be old time tractor displays at the Vicksburg Historic Village on Richardson Street. Hobo bean soup will be for sale there.

Friday night is for souped up street rods, but lots of other shapes and models of old cars seem to show up too. There is a book sale at the Vicksburg District Library on S. Michigan Avenue that runs Friday and Saturday.

Although rain has been threatened several years, the only year the Festival was greeted with a deluge was the very first event of this kind in 1980. It seems that the second Saturday in June is one whose weather is predictable, said Knowles.

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