BY DUCK PATERSON
Downtown Ladysmith is going to be the centre of the universe, again, for those who are classic car enthusiasts or even folks who are just curious.
The 19th annual Ladysmith Show ’n Shine happens Saturday, Aug. 19, all along First Avenue, and if all goes according to event chairperson Martin Byrne, it could be even better than last year’s show.
The 2022 downtown show was only the second on the Island since the start of the pandemic, he said, and everyone wanted to show off all the work they had been doing on their vehicles during pandemic restrictions.
“We had lots of comments from folks who brought their cars to Ladysmith for the first time about how great a show it is and what a great location,” Byrne said, “and everyone said they are coming back, so hopefully that is the case.”
First Avenue will be closed on Saturday from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and vehicles will start motoring into town at 7 a.m.
“That way it gives us time to get them all lined up on both sides of the street, and with the early start it’s not quite as chaotic, but by 8:30 it’s turned into chaos,” he said. “This year has seen a lot more pre-registrations and it can mean either one of two things, our set-up will be a lot easier or we’re going to have way more cars than we thought, but either way it’s a big plus for us.”
The show officially begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.
An entertainment stage near First Avenue and High Street will feature the Doctors of Rock ’n’ Roll starting at 10 a.m., and an ‘Island Girls Pinup Pageant’ talent show sponsored by Spuzzum Logging is planned for 11 a.m. Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer riders will show up at about 11:30 a.m. and the car show’s award ceremony is planned for 2:30 p.m. 50/50 draws will happen at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The organizers of the show have selected members of the Pacific Coast Mustang Association to act as judges to determine trophy winners for various categories but the most coveted trophy is the People’s Choice Award. All spectators are given a slip of paper and asked to fill in the vehicle which they feel is the best one in the show. There is also a Participants Trophy, selected by all the car owners and there is a neatest paint job trophy sponsored by Little Valley Restorations and Glass. This year there is a special award, in memory of longtime supporter and committee member Gord Reid, to be presented to the best open-top vehicle.
The Ladysmith Lions Club will be whipping up their famous breakfast sandwiches, which are always a favourite of the vehicle owners and early-bird spectators, and after that they’ll be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. Among the other concessions will be the Mizu Real Fruit Ice Cream stand, Trio’s Mac and Cheese and Cool Dudes Ice Cream and Pies. The local Kinsmen Club will host a beer garden in the library parking lot.
Ladysmith Fire Rescue and the Mid-Island Lego Users Group will be at the show, and major sponsors LCU Insurance and Lordco Auto Parts will be set up welcoming locals and visitors alike. As well, the ‘Ride To Live’ group will be explaining about the Island Prostate Centre, and the GAIN Auto Group will have vehicles at the show.
“We really believe this show helps to spotlight Ladysmith,” said Tammy Leslie, committee treasurer. “We’ve attracted vehicles from all over the Island and even the mainland and Washington State. It used to be just 70 or 80 vehicles but now we’re into the 300s and we really think this helps our local downtown economy.”
Rod Run offers sneak peek at shined-up autos
The sound of headers and loud mufflers, along with the sights of gleaming paint jobs, will get everyone in the motoring spirit this week.
The annual Rod Run is the annual lead up to the next day’s Ladysmith Show ‘n Shine.
“We believe it’s a great time for local car owners to come out and give their vehicles some flash, before they get to show them off to over 6,000 locals and visitors … the day of the show,” said Jason Kelland, senior vice-president of the local A&W chain of restaurants.
The Rod Run on Friday, Aug. 18, starts at 5 p.m. and more than 100 classic cars and trucks are expected to gather at the Ladysmith A&W restaurant to admire each other’s vehicles and tell stories about their own.
“We have live music, prizes, deals on a variety of meals, but more importantly we have great camaraderie amongst viewers and owners,” Kelland said.
This year the local ’50s and ’60s musical group Tropical Mayhem will be performing at the event.
The gathering at the A&W is one part of the event, but there is also the ‘run’ itself. The vehicles will leave the restaurant at 7 p.m., then tour through the Diamond before arriving in Ladysmith and cruising along First Avenue.
“The vehicles going around the round-a-bout is really a sight,” Kelland said. “There are all these classics, the kinds of cars that are images of an art form on its own. To see this art that the owners have put so much of their energy into, is a really unique sight … We are looking for so many people to line First Avenue and applaud this parade of nostalgia.”
The Rod Run will continue along Dogwood Drive, Davis Road, then Chemainus Road before returning to A&W for prizes and the rest of the party.
Members of the public are welcome to come to the restaurant to see the cars and trucks, and are encouraged to watch the cruise through downtown Ladysmith sometime around 7:15-7:30 p.m.