EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Evansville’s ShrinersFest first originated in 2011 to replace the annual Freedom Festival, and it’s been a big hit with air shows including the Blue Angels and hydroplane races.
The last two years, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it returned to Riverside Drive this weekend.
“It’s great to be back in our community and having our friends and family, and all the supporters that come out here, the kids especially, come out and enjoy a festival like this,” said Hadi Shrine 2022 Potentate, Richard Hubbard.
One of the biggest events this year was a car show. Over 100 cars were entered, and there were plenty of neat ones to see, everything from a 1932 Chevrolet to a 1967 Plymouth satellite. People who bring their cars to these festivals, say it’s definitely a labor of love.
“I inherited the disease known as the love of cars from my dad. He had all the old [1930s] and [1940s] street-rods and hot rods back in the day,” said Mick Gottman, who’s president of the Area Chrysler Enthusiasts Car Club. “Cars of this era and the older cars, they all have so much more character. When you walk up to something, you can pretty much pick out the year, the make, and the model, because they changed cars on an annual basis back in the day.”
For Gottman, these car shows are about more than just the cars. They’re about the friendships he makes.
“You will make friends, whether it’s in your car club or across the car community,” Gottman said. “”You’ll see them routinely at the larger events. You see them locally, and then a lot of us will attend other events that are regional or national events.”
As for future years of the ShrinersFest?
“A lot of things are going on in the economy, so we’re taking it slow like everybody else,” Gottman said. “Sponsorships are down. We know that. Businesses are still suffering and trying to recoup after the last two years, so we’re gonna take it one step at a time, and each year we’ll tweak it a little bit.”
The Bierstube and live music ended at 11:00 p.m. Saturday, and there’s also a half-pot that will be drawn in a couple weeks on July 11.
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