If you missed “Show Shine Shag & Dine” you should be kicking yourself right about now.
Downtown Henderson was turned into a heaven for all kinds of car enthusiasts. While I am no authority on cars, just seeing all those makes and models really brought back memories of Eveready Chevrolet, Motor Sales, Legg Parham, Clements Motor Co., McInnis & Palmer, and Ellis Motor Company that all used to be in what I call downtown. When the new cars came in each fall, we could not wait to see what the new models looked like. Do you remember seeing the car carriers one time with the cars actually draped so you could not steal a peek?
Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Chargers, and GTO’s were what my generation wanted to drive if they were lucky enough to get a car. A Buick Special, a Valiant, and a Dodge Dart were not cool enough if you wanted to be “hip.” All I can say is that what we could not have as teenagers, someone is really making up for now in all the dream cars at the show. And the dream will be carried on as many children were taking it all in. The love of cars transcends age, race, and creed, and the crowd was so large that some could not see the signs that pointed to the Corbitt Truck exhibit.
The tourism department under the leadership of Nancy Wilson did what have repeatedly done: a magnificent job in managing this show. I think she must have a direct link to the great weather man in the sky because the weather is always, if not perfect, certainly acceptable. The tourism volunteers served as wonderful ambassadors for our city. Eddie Ellington and Lynn Harper were in constant conversations each time I saw them. Chris Wright represented the younger generation in his usual knowledgeable way. Likewise, the police officers were great representatives of Henderson as they talked and mingled with the crowd. I am sure that there were many, many more who made a good impression on our visitors.
If you got overwhelmed by all the outstanding cars, you could do a little wine tasting, grab some good grub, listen to some very good shag music, or even shop for the very unique. The knitted clothes from Ecuador and the Cherokee Indian carvings and jewelry gave the show flair. The big welcome sign at Downtown Antiques also must have been a big draw for local merchant Charlie Perry who also restores cars. Networking with the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater was also a plus for that enterprising local business, and there was a great photo opportunity of people of all ages and races resting on the Methodist Church steps.
Giles Ringley, who is just back from Iraq, said one thing he looked forward to when he got back to Henderson was the car show, and he defied anyone to find anything wrong with that event. Well, here goes, Giles.
What is wrong is that we do not have an actual Hall of Fame in Henderson. It is not because Nancy Wilson and the tourism committee have not tried. The plans are drawn. The idea is good. It would be a great economic boost to Henderson. But, I guess just the right person did not come up with the idea. Some of our local politicians were at the show. We need to let them know that we think building a museum and a Hall of Fame would be a good use of our stimulus tax dollars. Nothing else in economic development is going on around here, so why can’t we all get behind Nancy and her plans and get this done. The market is obviously there and she proves it year after year. A Hall of Fame will generate jobs, it will generate new business, it will generate tourism, and it will generate a reason to remember Henderson.
If that many people will come to our city on a fine Saturday in October, think how many more would stop in off the interstate as they travel, or even make this their destination. The vision is in place. The tourism department has the vitality. All it will take will be for the right people to finally grasp the business sense that tourism is a great way to develop economically. By next October, the “Shine” in “Show, Shine, Shag, & Dine” could be a new Hall of Fame.