Classic automobiles and car shows are very popular in northeast Indiana, drawing people from all over the tri-state region for a glimpse at the stunning vehicles.
Of course, drawing a crowd of people is off-limits in 2020.
But as it drew time to make a decision about what was to be the seventh installment of Rolling into Roanoke, the board members and the event organizer, Richard Fischer, fashioned an alternative for the drivers left with nowhere to share their shiny cars.
Thank you to the participants
“We began Rolling into Roanoke as part of the beautification efforts there, to raise money for this great town with its beautiful downtown and Main Street,” Fischer said. “Our theme was going to be Made in America, so that we could feature the Auburns, Cords, Duesenbergs, and Studebakers, and International Harvester was going to provide a highlight, too.
“We decided to postpone all of those plans until next year, which is a bummer, but it was the smart thing to do, the right thing to do. Hopefully we’ll be back on track next year and can put all of those plans into next year’s Rolling into Roanoke.
“Instead, what we planned for this year as a thank you to the people who share their cars with us is a Dream Tour,” he continued. “What they really want to do is drive those cars. It’s not just about owning and showing them, but they love to drive them. So as a thank you to them we put together a day for them to get out on the road.”
Those who have cars which would typically be part of the summertime car shows are invited to pre-register (rollingintoroanoke.com) by Thursday, July 23, to be part of the action. Registration will also be available before the event on Saturday, July 25.
Then each driver can visit one, some, or all of the nine participants by whatever route possible.
To allow for social distancing, there will be no gathering of the cars or drivers, and each driver can decide if they want to travel the three counties — Allen, Dekalb, and Huntington — via country roads or interstate.
Each driver who takes advantage of free pre-registration will receive a free pint glass and swag bag as well as a card to be stamped at each stop along the way. Those who get all nine stamps are eligible for door prizes at the end of the event.
Among the stops are Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, National Auto & Truck Museum, and Worldwide Auctioneers in Auburn, SweetCars, Mitchell’s Neighborhood Grill, and Ultra Motorsports in Fort Wayne, Huntington Chevrolet, and GM/UAW Local 2209 Union Hall in Roanoke, as well as downtown Roanoke itself.
Each destination has something to offer car enthusiasts.
“The GM Union Hall is going to have a 1950s art deco bus,” Fischer said. “There were only 12 made, and only six remain. At Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum there’ll be the first Duesenberg to come off the assembly line. SweetCars will have luxury and sports cars, more along the lines of a modern exotic car.”
food and movie
There will be more than cars for the drivers to enjoy. Mitchell’s will of course have food, but some spots will offer food trucks, live entertainment, and other options as the day progresses. The drivers have from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to complete the tour. At 5 p.m. those who want to continue the day can head to the Sweetwater Pavilion where more food trucks await and door prizes will be awarded from a drawing of drivers who visited all nine sponsors and participants. At 7 p.m., Smokey and the Bandit will be screened as an additional prize for the drivers.
Although this is not the event Fischer and the Rolling into Roanoke board of directors initially planned, they hope it will keep the event in the minds of those who share their cars every year.
“We see this as a way to say thank you to those people who have made this possible for the last six years,” Fischer said. “A free day for them to enjoy and to get out in their cars, just a chance to give back to them. We also hope it helps us maintain momentum so we can look ahead to next year.”
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