September 24, 2020

Watching the Wheels

Your Summer Car Shows Guide
By Kristi Kates | June 10, 2017

Watching the Wheels

The Motor City might be four hours away, but northern Michigan is no slouch when it comes to celebrating the machines that move us. Whether your heart revs for vintage, sport, or specialty vehicles, there’s several Up North car shows worth scoping this summer. Here are eight classics:

Antiques on the Bay, St. Ignace
June 16–17

The precursor to the Straits city’s big car show (see below), this coupe-sized, vintage version showcases the automobile’s early incarnations (think: Ford Model Ts) and pairs them with people dressed in period outfits and antique picking. And ideal stop for history buffs who love to people watch and shop.

42nd Annual Car Show, St. Ignace
June 22–24
Perhaps the best known all-make, all-model car show in the region, the St. Ignace show is a huge one, welcoming not hundreds but thousands of antique, custom, and celebrity vehicles each year. The party starts with a big Cruise Night that launches from the Kewadin Casino on Thursday, June 22. Friday night’s follow-up — a miles-long car parade —is equally awesome, featuring some of the best-kept automobiles you’ve ever seen. 

Vintage Car Festival, Bay Harbor
June 24
Bay Harbor kicks off its summer season with this dual event, which bookends its tiny downtown with a vintage car show at one end and wooden boats at the other. You’ll see plenty of classic vehicles polished to a high sheen at this free event, which also boasts a “drive-by” awards ceremony.

Old Town Classic Car Show, Traverse City
July 2
Nostalgia rules at Traverse City’s classic car show that operates in conjunction with the annual National Cherry Festival. Hundreds of show-condition cars will be on display and competing in multiple judging classes, alongside additional wheeled vehicles like trucks, motorcycles, and tractors. This year’s Old Town show also will welcome the finale of the Hemmings Motor News Great Race road rally, for an additional spectacle.  

Street Legends 24th Annual Car Show, Charlevoix
July 14–15
The Street Legends team is still working on the schedule for this summer, but word is it will include annual traditions like classic rock music, a cruise around Lake Charlevoix, and an East Park car show with all the trimmings: Corvettes, Chevys, Rat Rods, Muscle Cars, and more, plus prizes and a silent auction. 

Harbor Springs Car Festival, Harbor Springs
August 10
This 11th annual — and always free — car fest always brings in a few miniature bombshells in the car department, which in the past have included a Moxie Mobile and one of Jay Leno’s vehicles. The whole thing takes place right in the middle of downtown Harbor Springs in Zorn Park, easy walking distance from dining and shopping. Bonus: free entertainment, thanks to the city’s Street Musique program.

Classic Sports Car Show, Alden
Aug. 13
The only car show in northern Michigan devoted solely to two-seater, two-door sport cars, this one’s great for the aspiring Bond in you, as sponsored by the Twin Bay British Car Club. With its plethora of sleek, stylized pint-sized classics — plus great music and door prizes — this vintage automobile fiesta on Torch Lake is fun for all sporting car fans.

Boyne Kiwanis Car Show, Boyne City
Sept. 1–2
A whole lineup of dash plaques and prizes are in the works for the participants at this year’s Kiwanis Car Show, a familiar feature of Labor Day weekend in Boyne City that coincides with the city’s popular Stroll the Streets event. Check out the cars in Memorial Park, and then enjoy shopping and snacks in downtown BC.




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