Old cars hit streets of New Roads

Cars are the stars at New Roads Spring Street Festival and Car Show

“People like to show off their cars,” New Roads Spring Street Festival and Car Show organizer Lauren Jones said.

The popular event draws car lovers from near and far to display and admire “tricked-out,” antique or just beautiful vehicles.

“There are a lot of classic cars in New Roads and the surrounding areas, but people come from all over. We’ve gotten calls from Mississippi and Alabama,” Jones said.

Though the show is billed as being for antique cars, there are no strict rules about what kinds of vehicles people can bring.

“We normally have antique cars, trucks and motorcycles. We also opened a category for Corvettes,” Jones said.

Last year, the Greater New Orleans Corvette Club sent 28 cars to the fair. President Tom Wooten said he hopes to have at least 35 this time.

“It’s hard to pin people down because of the weather. People joke that they can’t drive in the rain, but it’s really because they spend so much time and effort in cleaning the cars,” he said.

The group will gather at Cafe Du Monde, 4700 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, at 8:30 a.m. and caravan to the New Roads show. A stop is scheduled in Baton Rouge to meet up with the Baton Rouge Corvette Club.

Wooten said that the group enjoys the New Roads show because there is something for everyone.

“It’s an outlet for people who don’t just enjoy Corvettes because there’s something else to look at. It’s an open show, so there are cruisers, hot rods, pickup trucks. Even if you like Corvettes, after a while you can’t look at any more,” he said.

The fair, shops and vendors are an added attraction.

“Some of the ladies who don’t have a car to show aren’t thrilled about sitting in a parking lot in 100 degree heat looking at a car for the hundredth time,” he said.

The group does have some women members, though.

“Sometimes husbands and wives both have cars. They each drive their own car to the show,” Wooten said.

Getting a car ready to display takes at least eight hours and involves cleaning and polishing everything from the wheels to the engine.

Some car competitions offer awards for best engine and best interior, prizes that are based on aesthetics as much as performance, Wooten said.

The New Roads show will feature more awards this year, including Top 50, Sponsor’s Choice, Best Car, Best Truck, Longest Haul and Best in Show.

“We’re learning more about car shows and we’ve found out that people like to leave with an award,” Jones said. Participants and sponsors vote for their favorite vehicles.

Increasing the number and kind of prizes is a way to try to encourage participation in the event. “Last year we had 200 cars. This year, we hope for 300,” Jones said.

The vehicle owners are serious about their rides.

Some people won’t park their cars on grass and some even haul their classic vehicles to the show on trucks rather than driving them long distances.

Not all participants are retired people with time to spare working on old cars.

“We have a diverse group of people, young people, just people in love with their cars. Even people with new cars love to show them off,” Jones said.

Most members bring polishing cloths, dusters and wax to give their vehicles a final touch-up before the show. “You’ll see them out there polishing the chrome for the hundredth time that day,” Wooten said.

Some of the participants are part of car clubs like the GNCC and these groups spread the word about the show.

But other people might just have one or two cars and the show is an opportunity to meet others with the same interest.

For the public, the show and fair are a chance to see a lot of unique vehicles and enjoy New Roads.

“Our town is all for family fun. This is one of our most popular events. It’s a quaint town. It’s the perfect setting for a car show. It has a small town feel and people love to be on the river,” Jones said.

Downtown streets will be closed off so that people can walk around, shop and enjoy live music. Vendors will sell arts and crafts and local restaurants offer specials just for the festival.

“While the men show off their cars, the women can shop,” Jones said.