Car show attracts guests and visitors to Big Rapids for family-friendly event

People of all ages filled the streets of downtown Big Rapids for the first Cruisin’ Downtown Car Show Saturday afternoon to appreciate a variety of classic cars and trucks. During the event, members of the River Valley Car Club of Big Rapids helped judge the different vehicles and award 30 trophies to attendees in a variety of categories. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — Car enthusiasts young and old ventured into downtown Big Rapids Saturday afternoon for the first Cruisin’ Downtown Car Show.

Hosted and sponsored by the Pioneer Group and Mecosta County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the event brought together about 45 classic cars and trucks for guests and visitors to the area to appreciate.

Among those in attendance of the car show was Buck Jones, the owner of a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop.

Jones explained he previously owned this same vehicle when he was younger, and when he came across his current vehicle in 1991, he knew he had to purchase it and return the car to its former glory.

“I had a history with this car, and when I ran across this one I really didn’t know anything about restoring cars, so this was starting from scratch for me,” he said, adding since finishing the restoration he has been taking the car to shows for the past 25 years.

Whether they owned one of the vehicles entered in the car show like Jones, or were in attendance simply to appreciate the beauty of the different cars and trucks, Michigan Avenue was filled with people during the family-friendly event.

Evie Lankton and her grandson, Keegan Miller, were among the crowd of car enthusiasts in downtown Big Rapids this weekend.

“The car show was a great opportunity for the CVB and Pioneer to collaborate,” Executive Director of the CVB Connie Koepke said, “Anything that can help generate more business and events downtown is great.”

Koepke added the River Valley Car Club of Big Rapids helped organize and run the event, including awarding 30 trophies to people in categories such as “Best Ford,” “Best GM,” “Mayor’s Choice” and “Best of Show.”

Along with the variety of vehicles for people to peruse, the day also included an opening address from Mayor Tom Hogenson and a ceremony by the American Legion Post No. 98 Color Guard, 50/50 drawings, a live performance by the Balsam Brothers and more.

“I think we can call the car show a success. We are really looking forward to working with everyone next year,” Koepke said.

Cara Wilkinson and her daughter, Emily, attended the car show on Saturday to check out some of the classic cars and trucks and enjoy the live music and vendors.

The Cruisin’ Downtown Car Show attracted people of all ages and from several different towns who were interested in seeing different classic vehicles and enjoying the family-friendly event.

Elaine Eckert said she attended the car show in downtown Big Rapids this weekend to check out the different vehicles and enjoy what the city has to offer.

Eric Marrs, a member of the River Valley Car Club of Big Rapids, and his son, Blake, enjoyed an afternoon of checking out different classic cars and listening to live music provided by the Balsam Brothers.

The Balsam Brothers took to the stage during the first Cruisin’ Downtown Car Show to entertain families and friends in attendance.


Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the cops and courts reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at

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