Home Enthusiast Annual auto show draws hundreds of car enthusiasts to Cheboygan

Annual auto show draws hundreds of car enthusiasts to Cheboygan

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CHEBOYGAN – Local car enthusiasts enjoyed two days of fun on June 18-19 with the annual downtown parade, Yeck’s graffiti night, and the annual car show at Gordon Turner Park.

The parade through downtown took place Friday night at 7 p.m., where many classic cars that were planning to be in the auto show on Saturday morning drove down Main Street and then drove to Yeck’s Drive In Diner for a graffiti night.

Once at Yeck's, cars lined the parking lot and headed down the north end of Western Avenue, giving car enthusiasts a better view of all the classic and custom cars.

On Saturday morning, all the cars lined up around Gordon Turner Park – the new venue for the show – and hundreds of people turned out to see the classic and custom cars, including Dan Socha’s 1953 Chevy Bel Air 2-Door Sedan.

“I had one like that when I was in high school. It wasn’t like that, but it was like this, the same color and everything,” Socha said.

Everything about the Bel Air by Socha is completely original, including the carpet and the interior of the vehicle. One of the only things that were changed on the vehicle were the whitewall tires, which were replaced when they were worn out.

Cheboygan resident and former Inverness Fire Chief Dan Socha showed off his 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air at the Junior Chiefs Car Show last weekend at Gordon Turner Park.

There aren’t many two-door versions of the Bel Air. Most of these sedans are the four-door version. However, Socha was able to find the two-door version identical to the one he had when he was younger.

“I bought it for something to do after I retired,” Socha said.

He was able to buy it from a man whose 90-year-old father owned the car before he fell ill, and he then transported the car to northern Michigan. Socha is the second owner of the Bel Air, which is a Three on the Tree, with original 56,000 miles on the 235 inline six-cylinder engine.

Roger and Sue Miller’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird was also on display at the auto show, which Roger had purchased shortly before meeting his wife. He bought the car in July 1962, then met his wife on April 6, 1963 at the Big Boy Restaurant in Grand Rapids.

“Her boyfriend had held her up that night. It was the worst thing he had ever done, but the best for me,” Roger said. “We’ve been together ever since.”

Roger and Sue Miller's 1956 Ford Thunderbird was on display at the Gordon Turner Park Auto Show.  The couple restored the car on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

The couple married on August 28, 1965. They’ve kept the Thunderbird all these years, and then on their 50th wedding anniversary, he had it completely restored.

Dave Charboneau, president of the Junior Chiefs Car Show, said he thinks the parade and the auto show were exceptional. He also thanked the Yeck family for organizing the graffiti night each year at their service restaurant on Mackinaw Avenue.

“Since I’ve been on cruises for the past 10 years, I think this is the most people I’ve seen,” Charboneau said. “As for the auto show itself, with the change of venue, there can still be some trepidation in the face of unknowns. It was all buried on the day of the show.”

Vehicles from several different decades were showcased at Cruise Night and the Cheboygan Junior Chiefs sponsored auto show.

Charboneau spoke personally to most of the attendees and a large number of spectators at the show, and all said they loved City Beach and requested that he stay at the new location for future shows.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated, all of our sponsors and all of the volunteers who helped make this weekend a success,” said Charboneau. “All proceeds go to Cheboygan Junior Chiefs, a non-profit youth sports organization. We look forward to making it bigger and better next year.”


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