DRACUT -- It began three years ago with an impressive showing of about 150 stylish cars.
Now the Veterans Memorial Park Antique, Classic and Street Rod Car Show routinely draws that amount. Vehicles of all types, from a cherry-red 1957 Chevy to the 1927 Essex that harkens back to the days of John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson.
There are muscle cars: a 1964 Thunderbird, a 1959 Ford Skyliner and a mint-condition bright-gold 1948 Dodge panel truck, and so many others.
Organizer Don Morowski, the force behind all four car shows, is busy gearing up for this Saturday's car show, which takes place at Veterans Memorial Park from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. He has no hard-and-fast count as to just how many vehicles will be on site.
"That's tough to tell," Morowski said. "If there's the slightest hint of rain, the owners won't come out." There is no charge to enter the park and registration, which begins at 7 a.m., is also free.
Money will be derived, however, from the sale of food and concessions at the snack shack. Proceeds go to park improvements, including the construction of a 50-foot covered pavilion.
Veterans Memorial Park is located on Broadway Road, behind the Post Office and adjacent to the Washington Savings Bank. Interestingly, the Dracut Speedway, which closed for good in the 1950s, was located directly across the street.
Q: How did you come up with the idea, in 2009, to put on a classic car show?
A: "I was looking for some way to bring more activity to the park.
Then I ran into Dick Thibault, who owns a '64 T-Bird and belongs to something called the Thunderbird Club. He goes to car shows all the time and we started discussing having one here. Why not? I figured let's try it and see how it goes. He has a million contacts so off we went."
Q: How many cars are you expecting?
A: "I would say in the vicinity of 150 cars, maybe more, depending on the weather. That's a real good showing and that's about what we've been getting all along. We have all their contact information on computer and we've sent out mailings letting them know that it's taking place. We really won't know until they show up on the 23rd.
We could be surprised and get 200."
Q: Have you ever thought about owning a classic car or a hot rod?
A: "No. Not at all. I don't have the time. You have to be married to it. I'm amazed when I see the work that goes into some of these cars. They buy the car and strip it down and start right up again from the frame."
Q: Do you see the car show getting bigger every year?
A: "Look, as long as you treat the owners good they'll keep coming. They have a lot of pride in their cars. They don't like people touching the cars, especially kids.
Sometimes they'll have the shows at an ice cream stand. That has to be the worse. The owners are very particular. If the TV or radio is calling for even a drop of rain, they won't come out. There's a lot of money wrapped up."
Q: How has the money that has come in benefited the park?
A: "Well, we're at a bit of a crossroads right now. All the money that has come in from the two previous shows -- last year was rained out -- is dedicated to the construction of a pavilion. But the price of steel has gone crazy and so have the costs to transport that steel across the country. Then there are prevailing wage issues.
So the material and transportation is about $21,000. The cost of construction is another $20,000.
Bottom line is that we are not at $41,000 yet but we will have some sort of structure in place this fall. It's a pavilion, about 15 or 18-feet high and 50 feet across, with picnic tables and benches and a roof to get out of the rain or the hot sun. We don't really want to put it up while the park is full of people."