If you’ve never been to the annual Route 66 Car Show in Berwyn, IL, you’re in for a treat. It’s this coming weekend along Ogden Avenue and will be centered, as usual, at the intersection of Ogden and Ridgeland Avenue (6400 W). For several blocks along Ogden Avenue, you’ll see a display of classic, antique and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. This is where ‘car people’ in the western suburbs come to see and be seen on Ogden for one weekend every September, from late in the morning until late at night. Even better, it’s free to the public.
The car show typically includes special appearances by hot rod, drag race and NASCAR racing stars, along with displays of some pretty amazing vehicles and live music to keep things jumping. Expected this year, for example, is a return visit from the beloved local rock and jive band, The Crown Vics. For a complete schedule and information for exhibitors, visit the show’s official web site here. And while you’re there, don’t forget to stop at the booth for the Berwyn Route 66 Museum and drop a dollar in the kitty to help fund some of the new displays the museum is planning.
Boy, do those folks in Berwyn love their cars. They’ve had a love affair with the automobile since before Route 66 was designated, and the commissioning of the route simply intensified that relationship. That’s just one reason why that former piece of conceptual art known as The Spindle (which we wrote about in a recent post) was so evocative of Berwyn. Because of all the car dealerships and car-related service businesses that were located on Ogden Avenue in this suburb, Ogden itself used to be known as Automobile Row from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Indeed, the oldest surviving business along Ogden in Berwyn is nearby Ogden Top and Trim, which started out literally as a carriage shop that customized horse-drawn carriages and sold buggy whips. However, as soon as those horseless carriages appeared, Ogden Top and Trim switched to customizing cars and has been doing so ever since. The third generation of the Nesladek family (good Bohemian name!) still runs the place.
One bit of warning: parking will be impossible at the car show itself because the cars on display will be occupying the spaces on Ogden for several blocks in either direction from Ridgeland Avenue. If you live in or near Berwyn, walk or bike there; if you don’t, take public transportation or be prepared to park a ways away and walk in to the main events. And yes, dress for the weather and bring a water bottle, hat, sunscreen, etc. with you, because it’ll probably be a long walk back to your own vehicle.
Oh, and you might see us there, too! (Joe and I, at least, will be wandering around on Saturday until 1pm or so, which is when we depart for the Civil War remembrance at Lyonsville Cemetery, another Route 66 stop in Indian Head Park; more on that later this week).
Until next time,