You’ve likely seen Randy Barton driving around the North Okanagan in his classic 1956 Chevrolet station wagon, red-and-white in colour.
Barton, from Lumby, takes the vintage vehicle out for regular drives.
“I’m known for driving it a lot. People always laugh how many miles I have on it,” laughed Barton, one of the organizers of Vernon’s Sun Valley Cruise-In, which returns to Polson Park and downtown Vernon July 8 to 10. Barton’s wagon will be one of the 500 or so cars, trucks, hot rods, muscle cars and vintage vehicles that will take part.
Growing up in the Langley-Cloverdale area, Barton remembers his dad had a 1952 GMC five-window pickup truck, a vehicle he’s been looking to acquire when he has time and money. Barton owned a 1955 Chevy – part of the tri-fives of Chevy cars from 1955, 1956 and 1957 that he thoroughly likes.
But after starting a family in his 20s, Barton put a burgeoning car hobby on the backburner. When his kids were older, he got back into the classic car game, purchasing the ‘56 wagon from Saskatchewan, where an RCMP officer and neighbour had found the vehicle in Montana in a barn with barely any mileage on it.
He’s had the vehicle and been displaying it in car shows since 2016. It’s perfect for hauling around film equipment for creating videos for the Cruising The Okanagan car show company.
“The camaraderie is amazing,” said Barton of the car show crowd. “People you meet in the car community are all so nice and helpful. It’s just a really neat bunch of people to hang out with. I’m looking forward to the weekend for sure.”
The Sun Valley Cruise-In kicks off Friday night with a special showing of the classic vehicle movie American Graffiti at the Towne Theatre. A licensed beverage lobby will greet movie-goers starting at 6 p.m., followed by the flick at 6:30 p.m. Some classic vehicles will be parked outside the theatre.
On Saturday, the cars will do a back-country cruise starting at Watkin Motors on 27th Street and finishing in downtown Vernon for the always popular mid-afternoon Saturday car show on Main Street (30th Avenue) from 4:30 to 8 p.m.
Vehicles will be in Polson Park Sunday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an awards presentation at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday’s lineup will also include a Pin-Up Model contest on the main stage (bandshell) at 12 p.m., live music featuring the Dixie Fried Hep Katz, swap meet, displays and food vendors.
“The event is totally organized and run by volunteers from a variety of local car clubs and local auto enthusiasts,” said event spokesperson Andy Freeland. “Our show benefits local non-profit groups and charities.”
For a complete rundown of Cruise-In events, visit vernoncruisein.com.
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