Street Rod Nationals kicks off in Louisville with a vintage car parade
Nearly 40 vintage cars rumbled through Fourth Street Live Wednesday to mark the beginning of the 54th annual Street Rod Nationals. The iconic car show is this weekend.
Mayor Craig Greenberg led the parade, driving his 1974 El Dorado. He bought his hot rod 16 years ago after reminiscing about his first car of the same model.
“I remember growing up as a kid and seeing the weekends in August when street rides would take over our city and you'd run into them at the mall at the park or wherever you might be going that week,” he said. “That was always so fun. It would bring just a smile to my face.”
The show generates nearly $11 million in estimated economic impact for Louisville’s community, according to Louisville Tourism. Louisville has been home to the show for 29 years and is hosting it for the 26th consecutive year.
Jerry Kennedy is the special events director for the National Street Rod Association.
“There is no better host city in the country that we have witnessed than Louisville, Kentucky. There is no better facility to use for our event than the exposition center,” Kennedy said. “There is by far no better Convention and Visitors Bureau and tourism group than you have here in Louisville.”
He said he’s grateful for the support from the community and the participants.
“You have doctors, lawyers and everything – to give away the jackets and ties to don the blue jeans and the tennis shoes and here for a good time,” Kennedy said. “We appreciate being here and appreciate you allowing us to be in Louisville to have this good time.”
One of the local car clubs included in the parade was the Chicken Eaters Car Club. Most of them wore neon yellow shirts with a white chicken on the front.
Alan Beshear drove his 1974 Barracuda in the parade. He bought it brand new and has taken care of the car for almost 50 years.
“I drove it for a while and then I’d put it in the garage,” Beshear said. “Once my children got older then I got the car back out, because since they moved on and have their own lives and everything, I thought I'd get back in the car again. I cleaned it up a little bit and done some things to it. And here I am.”
The Street Rod Nationals attracts more than 30,000 participants with at least 10,000 vintage cars for display. The weekend also has an arts and crafts fair, a vintage auto parts swap meet and live music.
The car show runs Aug. 3 through 6 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.