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.
Last week we went up to the land of float planes and moose for the Midnight Sun Cruise-In which was held in Fairbanks, Alaska. And let me tell ya, that’s a long haul from E’ville, Indiana.
It was three airplanes and about 16 hours total travel time before we finally got to the Bear Lodge; our base of operations for the next few days.
I had built an extra day into the schedule for a change to recover from the inevitable jet lag. The car show itself wasn’t till Saturday, and although there was an organized cruise to a salmon bake Friday evening, we basically had Friday to kill. Since this event was being hosted by the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, I figured walk-thru would be a good way to spend the morning.
Fairbanks really isn’t a very big town, about 40,000 people, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the museum, but I could not have been more wrong. This place absolutely blew me away. The museum was the vision of owner Tim Cerny and his wife Barb. The collection has several one-of-one and only-one-left cars as well as several Alaska-specific vehicles (which were extremely weird).