More than 50 Mountain Area car buffs participated in the North Fork Car Collector Day Cruise on Main Street July 12.
Classic cars, hot rods and restored vehicles filled downtown North Fork from 5-8 p.m. as part of the fourth annual national event to pay tribute to collector cars and the people who collect and restore them.
As a tribute to the collector car industry and the millions of hobbyists it supports, the second Friday in July is recognized as National Collector Car Appreciation Day as a means to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.
"I was very pleased with the turn out for our first year event in North Fork," said Scott Marsh, North Fork Chamber of Commerce president, the organization that presented the event. "We were hoping for 20 cars and to get about 50 was unbelievable. Car collectors came out to demonstrate their love for automobiles, as millions of collectors across America were doing. I'm thankful for all the car owners who participated in the event. We are already looking forward to a bigger and better event next year."
Phil Meadows of Oakhurst had his shinny 1938 two-door Master Delux Chevy in the show.
"Restoring classic autos is my hobby it takes a lot of work but I enjoy it very much," Meadows said.
Acknowledging his hobby is expensive, Meadows said the restoration of his Chevy took five years and he paid for it as he went through the restoration process.
In addition to his 1938 vehicle, he also has restored a 1957 Chevy Nomad.
"I've attended many car shows over the past 25 years," Meadows said. "North Fork was a good event. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting a lot of new people."
Tim Nelson, president of the Oakhurst Road Rattlers car club, brought his "all original" 1956 Ford four-door sedan to North Fork.
"The automobile restoration industry is huge," Nelson said. "Millions and millions of dollars are spent annually by collectors for engine work, upholstery, body work, paint jobs and other restoration-related jobs."
Nelson said a lot of what draws car collectors to the hobby is the companionship and camaraderie of car people.
"It's a common denominator for people to get together," Nelson said. "I know people who have driven cross-country and visit with friends all across the US that are car restorers. the socializing is a big part of it.
Nelson said collecting and restoring cars is no different than someone creating a wood carving and having someone appreciate it
"There are people who gamble for entertainment my entertainment is being in my garage working on my car and being able to take it out and have people appreciate it," Nelson said. "It also brings back memories for people. People remember having an old car in the family or owning one themselves as a kid."
The Road Rattlers currently have 30 member families in the club that meets once a month. For club information, call Nelson at (559) 658-8320.
Marsh said the concept of the event was for people to park and then be able to walk the length of Main Street enjoying the cars and the music.
The North Fork event was recognized with proclamations by the Madera County Board of Supervisors, the state Senate (Tom Berryhill), State Assembly (Frank Bigelow) and the U.S Congress (Tom McClintock).
The county proclamation recognized the many residents of the county that collect, restore and preserve classic automobiles as a pastime and do so with great passion ... that the restoration of historic and classic cars is important to preserving our cultural heritage ... and wholeheartedly supports all activities involved in the restoration and exhibition of such vintage works of art.
The event included music by Jean Butterfield, Mike Aguilar and Johnny Rodriguez and Ace and Roxy, and meal and drink discounts at the Buckhorn Saloon & Restaurant, La Cabana Restaurant, Slim's Koffee Shak and Pizza Factory.
Sponsors were North Fork NAPA Auto Parts and K&B Carquest Auto.
"This event was special, not only because of the great automobiles, but for the first time in North Fork that our four restaurants and two auto part stores came together collectively to put on an event," Marsh said. "There is a new sense of unity and common purpose among our downtown proprietors."