BRISTOL -- The New England Auto Museum returned with its seventh annual Summertime Car Show to Bristol Saturday with over 150 vehicles present along a closed portion of North Main Street.
Visitors engaged with vendors, food trucks and live music. The event was formerly called the Father’s Day Car Show.
“Compared to what I woke up with this morning, I didn’t expect this kind of a day,” said Bristol Auto Club President Reggie L’Heureux of rainy weather early in the day. “It’s dynamite. There are a lot of nice cars here.”
President of the New England Auto Museum Mike Scheidel said museum events had previously been in Norwalk. Partners of the Bristol event included Bristol Police Explorers, Survive the Drive, Valley Collector Car Club, the City of Bristol and the Bristol Auto Club.
“The auto industry started in New England primarily,” said Scheidel. “Connecticut, we had 185 auto manufacturers alone at (one point). There was one right here in Bristol. With the car culture that we have, there’s some 104 car clubs (across the state).”
Scheidel said the city asked the museum to hold a show on North Main Street because previous Bristol business owner Bill Englert organized them and then the Bristol Auto Club also held events before him. Englert died in 2014. His son, Joe Englert, ran shows for a time as well.
“We don’t have a physical location right now (for the museum),” said Scheidel. “We’re working with the City of Bristol (Economic and Community Development Office) to find a location. We really need one in Connecticut.”
The president noted that the museum is also looking to partner with area schools to bring its educational programming to them.
“It’s pretty nice to get out and see everything,” said visitor Matthew Reynolds of the festival.
“I’ve got an old 1975 Monte Carlo,” said brother Ken Reynolds. “We both grew up with (cars). Our grandfather had an old Chevelle and was very mechanically inclined.”
Matthew said he remembered going for rides in his grandfather’s Chevelle. The brothers said the smell of automobiles had good memories for them because of their grandfather.
Rick Theriault, a mentor with the Wamogo Regional High School Future Farmers of America Tractor Restoration Team, along with supporters displayed a restored 1951 Farmall H tractor to be raffled with a drawing at the Goshen Fairgrounds Sept. 5. He noted it was important to get students involved in such activities before hands-on technical engine skills were forgotten by youth.
Past student and returning tractor restoration advisor Brandon Johnson said tractors were a great opportunity for fathers and their children to bond over a project and it fit well with the car show.
Bristol Auto Club Sergeant-at-Arms Art Marino said the Bristol Auto Club’s Tractor and Auto Show is slated to return next Saturday from roughly 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the parking lot of 430 North Main St. Theriault helped found the event as a Bristol Auto Club member.
“Before covid, we had tractors and cars and we incorporated it because we wanted one big show,” said Marino. “We give out five trophies with some that are picked by (visitors) and some picked by Rick (Theriault) and his group.”
The upcoming event has gone on for over five years.
“Just show up and have a good time,” said Marino. He did ask that there be no animals on leashes or riding of bicycles and like vehicles to avoid damage to vehicles and no alcoholic beverages.