Car show rolls in: 34th annual Grass Valley event set for downtown |

Car show rolls in: 34th annual Grass Valley event set for downtown

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to The Prospector
All kinds of different cars will be available to look at, walk around, appreciate and marval at during the 34th Annual Grass Valley Car Show on Saturday in Downtown Grass Valley.
Photo by Curtiss Gruss

Hot rods, rat rods, classics, motorcycles, domestics, imports — they’re all a sight to behold during Saturday’s 34th Annual Grass Valley Car Show.

The event is slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in historic downtown Grass Valley and expects to bring in over 300 vehicles, built in the early 1970’s or older.

Grass Valley has become a favorite destination for car aficionados who enjoy lining the streets from City Hall to Tofanelli’s on East Main and down Mill Street. Executive Director Marni Marshall says they will even park the cars on part of South Auburn with help and expertise of members of the Roamin’ Angels Car Club.

“They provide a great service to us. They have experience parking cars and car shows, so they show up at 5 o’clock in the morning and help us. We register the cars and give them their goodie bags and coveted car plaques and then the Roamin Angels help us with the challenging task of actually parking over 300 cars.”

Marshall said the car show is a wonderful way to get people downtown. “The vintage cars look really nice in our historic downtown. It gives the community of car enthusiasts an opportunity to show off what they do whether it’s custom paint, custom parts, restoration, whatever they do — there is a huge community of people who do that for fun and of course there are businesses in Grass Valley that provide those services for the vintage car enthusiast including our title sponsor, Riebe’s Auto Parts, so it gives people who love historic, beautiful vehicles a chance to show off and share their stories.”

Marshall says the car show is a great, free family event where people can admire the many different cars and can meet the car owners who love to tell stories about the challenges and triumphs of restoring the vehicles.

“It’s really sweet. It is a nice time to slow down and visit with car owners and each other,” Marshall adds.

There will be vendors in the City Hall parking lot including food vendors, crafts, some rockabilly jewelry, T-shirts and other vendors and nonprofits with items for sale, a bounce house and other entertainment.

Enthusiasts come hoping to win a prize in one of the 20 categories the car show offers, which are all sponsored by local businesses including traditional categories such “Best of Show” or “Best Modified,” but also includes some new and unique categories including ”Best Interior” and “Born to be Wild.”

Attendees can also cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award by picking up a ballot at the Grass Valley Downtown Association booth located at the clock tower at the intersection of Mill and Main Streets. Trophies are a little different each year and Marshall said this year is no exception.

“We are really excited about this year’s awards,” Marshall said. “We like to choose a different style each year in case the same person wins more than one year. These are going to be really tall and will have a place for the dash plaque from the car show in it and they are really shiny and showy, so we are really hoping they are going to love these trophies.”

For those who may have not been downtown in a while, it is a good reason to visit some of the long time downtown businesses, but also a great time to discover the nearly two dozen new businesses that have opened up in the last year or so.

“We had nearly 30 new businesses opening in the last year and a half, thanks in part to our Economic Vitality Committee who have been working with people who want to be downtown,” Marshall said. “We try to curate what would be a good mix but some of it just happened. There are a lot of people excited to part of Grass Valley where there is a lot happening.”

Those new businesses include new breweries, several new restaurants, a bakery and a variety of retail stores including a men’s clothing store, a home goods store, a maternity store, a screen printing business, a phone repair shop and an upscale vintage consignment shop, among others.

The Downtown Association is remarkably busy and has added even more events to get people to enjoy the beautiful downtown.

Those events include being a stop on The Great Race in June; an expanded Farmer’s Market that will take place before and after the Thursday Night Market; a fall Sidewalk Sale and a Brewfest and Fun Run scheduled in September — all in addition to the annual events the community has come to expect.

The Fourth of July parade is in Grass Valley this year and of course there is the safe trick or treat, the downtown holiday market and Cornish Christmas.

Marshall said, “We want the merchants to know we are here to help them. We want to bring people downtown. Our downtown is the living room of our community. We really believe if we keep things beautiful and vital downtown that it will be a community space. It is a place to come down and meet your friends and family. It’s not always about shopping but is about visiting downtown and having a sense of community.”

The Downtown Car Show is just one of the many events that is putting Grass Valley on the map as a destination for people looking for a place to visit and explore. Marshall adds, “ Come down and enjoy the car show. As our motto says, it’s a chance to ‘sip, shop and stroll.’”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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