The most recent show we shot was the Star City Motor Madness in Roanoke, Virginia. The origin of the name of the event became obvious as soon as we hit town. Looming over the city atop Mill Mountain is the largest illuminated man-made star in the world. It’s almost 90 feet tall and kinda hard to miss.
It was commissioned in 1949 by the city’s Merchant’s Association to kick off the Christmas shopping season and shortly thereafter Roanoke was nicknamed “The Star City of the South”. It’s a really nice town and the view of it from Mill Mountain is pretty cool.
This was the 9th year for the event, and it is held right downtown on Jefferson Street which is one of the main streets. It was originally created as a fundraiser to build a permanent automotive exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, and to date they have raised over a quarter of a million dollars. Currently the stars of this museum are a pair of massive steam locomotives, the Norfolk and Western Class A-1218 and the streamlined Class J-611; the most modern steam locomotives ever built.
This past weekend was Torquefest in Farley, Iowa. This is a traditional hot rod show that was being held at a dirt track speedway. It was the first year for this event, and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about that fact. Actually, in the history of MCC, I have never shot a first year event. I prefer to wait till they’re a little farther along the learning curve. However the promoter, John Wells, is a good guy and it was being held for a good cause. I also wanted to try to help this event get established because ultimately I’d like to see these traditional hot rod shows dotted all across the US so that there’s one within driving distance of anyone that would want to attend one.
Farley’s a bit of an outpost tho, and there really wasn’t a good place to fly into so we decided to make it a road trip. It was going to be about 500 miles from E’ville to Farley, and there were supposed to be some pre-event festivities starting at 5:00 pm Friday so Ben & I got on the road mid morning in hopes of getting to the church on time.
It was pretty smooth (and flat) sailing most of the way thru central Illinois until we got up to Rockford and turned west at which point we were faced with a wall of black clouds which was frequently illuminated by bolts of lightning raining down all around us.
And speaking of rain, it wasn’t long before it started to do that in earnest, and continued till we were about 20 miles outside of Farley (which had received somewhere between two and three inches). We were running a bit behind schedule, but it didn’t matter because the planned cruise to the farm where Field of Dreams had been filmed was wisely cancelled. Fortunately tho, the weather forecast for the next day was nearly perfect, and I was just keeping my fingers crossed that the cars that did show up for this event wouldn’t sink out of sight in the showfield.