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Rockin' Round the Block celebrates glory of four wheels

Rockin' Round the Block features more than 300 classic rides -


OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Classic cars lined downtown Gresham streets Saturday during Rockin' Round the Block, the city's annual tribute to the automobile. Downtown Gresham was transformed into a motorhead’s dream Saturday, Aug. 13, as the streets were lined with classic cars and hot rods.

It was all part of the 18th-annual Rockin’ Round the Block Car Show, a daylong event featuring several classifications of competition, as well as live music, food vendors, children’s activities, door prize drawings and awards.

“It was a really good turnout,” said Vern Farris, a Gladstone resident who chairs the event. “Everyone was out having a great time, and I was happy with how it all went.”

The streets were closed and turned over to crowds enjoying the event. It was a nice mix of people, with car enthusiasts, families and Gresham residents all visiting with the owners and restorers of the vehicles.

This year the event had more than 300 entries, featuring many beautiful restoration jobs. There was a green and white 1956 Chevy Del Ray, a black 1978 Studebaker Dictator, a red 1937 Ford Tudor Slantback sedan, and a yellow 1973 De Tomaso Pantera — to name a few. Many of the entries had boards with information about the specifications of the vehicle and who had helped restore. Others explained the history of the entry.

Motorcycles, tractors and a fire engine were part of the mix. One piece of history on display was a 1971 powder blue Dodge Coronet, which had the distinction of being Fairview’s first modern police car.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The 2016 Rockin' Round the Block car show brought tons of old fashioned, American chrome to downtown Gresham Saturday, including this lovingly restored Chevrolet Impala SS. “It is fun to be part of such a big event that benefits the community,” said Sheryl Gould, president of Northwest Motorsports Association, one of the organizing clubs. “(It’s) great being able to walk around and see everyone out enjoying themselves.”

Gould has been involved with car clubs for 35 years, and has been coming to Rockin’ Round the Block since its inception.

The groups that put together the event worked hard throughout the day, with many volunteers arriving at 5 a.m. to make sure everything went smoothly.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Mt. Hood Community College Automotive Technology scholarship program. They haven’t calculated how much money was raised this year, but the amount will be added to the $153,000 accumulated in the past.

“We are helping kids who want to take auto classes by making it more affordable for them to go to school,” said Shelley Fontana, who volunteered in the registration tent. “The proceeds go towards things like buying them the tools they need.”

The ever-popular raffle drawing is one of the ways money is generated for the college. All of the items were either donated by local groups and businesses or purchased by the Northwest Motorsports Association.

“The raffle makes good money, and it’s an important part of what goes towards Mt. Hood Community College,” said Sue Golleher, a member of the Northwest Motorsports Association. “Normally we give out 20 prizes every drawing, which happens every half hour.”

The prizes included model cars, candy, old dealership signs and even a mailbox painted with flames like a hotrod.

The competition for top entries was decided by a panel of judges assembled to pick their favorites, while local merchants and businesses also could purchase the rights of awarding their own trophies.

Every year Rockin’ Round the Block has new and unique trophies. This year, winners received prizes shaped like mini-jukeboxes.

“I try to find something different each time,” said Farris, who finds the trophies each year. “My guy who does trophies for me called and said he had something I needed to see. Everybody thought the jukeboxes were really cool.”

There was plenty to do beyond looking at cars. Many of the attendees took advantage of the food vendors, especially treats such as Sno Cones in an effort beat the afternoon heat. The city of Gresham had a water refilling station to keep everyone hydrated, and many of the vendors were giving out free water.

Deborah Messinger School of Dance and the Rising Stars Preschool performed routines in the middle of Main Avenue, while on Third Street the local martial arts studios had their own interactive setups where people could attempt to break wooden boards and interact with the students. Ron Ruedi and the Hurricanes also performed on the main stage for the majority of the afternoon.

Most of the booths featured car-related products, like models and car supplies. Many of the local dealerships also had a presence at the event, with free giveaways and games including bean-bag tosses. OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A child smiles as he grips the wheel of this 1928 Ford Model A hot rod Saturday at Rockin' Round the Block.