Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Does Janesville need a big car show?

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Friday, July 26, 2013

I recently visited a relative in Germantown, and we stopped in to a festival that had a small auto show among the attractions. As we walked the grounds, marveling at the powerful engines, gleaming paint jobs and plush leather interiors, the idea struck me: Why doesn't Janesville have a major auto show?

I know Beloit has a big one, though for one reason or another, I have yet to see it. I've seen the small auto display that's part of the Rock River Thresheree every Labor Day weekend. To make sure I wasn't missing a big auto show here, I quizzed Christine Rebout, head of the Janesville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Janesville has several medium-sized and small shows, Rebout told me, “but you are correct—no biggies.”

She provided links to several local shows. They include the Tired Iron Car Show and Swap Meet, http://www.janesvillecvb.com/events/p/item/181/time/4430/month/7 which just happens to be this Saturday and Sunday at Thresherman's Park, off Highway 51, halfway between Janesville and Edgerton. The Elks Lodge Car Show will be Aug. 18 at the Janesville Elks Club on North Washington Street in Janesville. On Aug. 24, New Life Assembly of God on North Wright Road in Janesville will host the Jesus Built My Hot Rod Car Show. http://www.janesvillecvb.com/events/p/item/295/time/798/month/8

“Culvers has Cruise nights, which is similar, but not quite the same,” Rebout explained in an email.  “Tobacco Days in Edgerton has one as part of their event.  We used to host conventions for all of the big car clubs, but the GM (factory) tour was the draw for hosting those, and they have really dwindled. “

Janesville would seem to be a great community for a major show of collectible cars. After all, generations of families worked for General Motors, and this community was largely built on GM dollars. In the process, many of those workers became gearheads. Heck, I know of three Janesville men who own collector cars. Another resident I met owns a handful of old vehicles. So a big car show would seem a natural here. Maybe GM models could be the focal point—or even vehicles built at Janesville's former GM plant. Perhaps for one weekend, at least, it could fill the vast, vacant grounds of that GM complex.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or
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Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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