Archive for Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fathers flock for Planes, Trains and Automobiles

June 23, 2005

A car show, a vintage motorcycle show, train rides and airplane rides were just a few of the things to do and see this weekend in Baldwin City.

The second-annual Planes, Trains and Automobiles festival was held Saturday and Sunday in Baldwin. This year's festival drew a much larger turnout, partly because of the number of cars and motorcycles in the shows.

"It was a great turnout," event organizer Rita Madl said. "We almost tripled the number of cars in the car show. There were so many things you wouldn't see anywhere else."

Baldwin City resident Burt Hitchcock had a great time at the festival.

"I think the turnout was great for the automobiles," Hitchcock said. "I couldn't believe how many motorcycles they had. The weather was nice and that always helps. I think it's a good attraction for the town."

Last year Hitchcock entered an automobile in the car show. But his year he opted not to and just enjoyed the weekend downtown.

The weekend kicked off at 9 a.m. Saturday with the car show downtown, the vintage motorcycles at Antiques on the Prairie and a quilt show at the library.

Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Sandy Cardens said the car show drew big numbers and got started a little earlier than planned.

"The weekend was great, particularly Saturday," Cardens said. "We had 62 cars in the car show and they started coming at 7:30 a.m. Registration wasn't until 9 a.m., but they all wanted a dash plaque."

The first 50 cars in the show received the plaques. Cardens said that may have played a factor in the earlier arrival of the cars.

One thing that surprised Cardens was the number of visitors to the motorcycles.

"I didn't know there were that many people interested in vintage motorcycles, but apparently there are," Cardens said. "Apparently, you can find a group that is interested in almost anything."

Other things that drew people in Saturday were the train rides at Midland Railway and an airplane exhibit at the Vinland Airport.

Madl said people from Ottawa, Johnson County and even Virginia flew airplanes in for this festival.

"I thought it was pretty good on Saturday," Cardens said. "I think this is something that will build. I was very happy with what I saw for the turnout."

The festival continued on into Sunday with events such as the motorcycle poker run, horseshoe pitching contest, draft horse wagon rides and miniature golf.

The car show was only on Saturday, but Cardens thought the train participation increased Sunday.

"On Sunday, there wasn't a car show so we didn't have as many people wandering around," Cardens said. "The ridership on the train was up on Sunday."

Madl said there were 32 bikes for the poker run and it raised $150 for the Baldwin City Recreation Summer Scholarship Fund. She also said the miniature golf course at The Lodge received a lot of use.

Cardens said the Chamber of Commerce is working on sending out surveys to local businesses. The survey will help determine if the event brought more people into businesses.

"We're spending quite a lot of money to promote this event for businesses," Cardens said. "So, if they're not getting anything out of it, but I think most of them will tell you they are. That's why we are sending out that survey."

The festival was also created to try and bring people to Baldwin for more than the Maple Leaf Festival in October. Cardens said this event will help do that and will not get as big as the October festival.

"It's not going to be that big and we don't want it to be that big," Cardens said. "But the idea is to have something other than in October to bring people to town. Sometimes I think people only think we are open in October. We are open year-round."

Cardens said the event will be held next year, but it will take some time to layout the schedule of events.

"We may do some adjusting, but I hope we will, because I just sent it in to the Kansas Visitor's Guide," Cardens said of holding the festival next year. "We're considering different things with the car show. If we're going to be open Sunday, I think it's critical that we bring people downtown. But we will definitely have it."

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