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Decatur car show brings out enthusiasts, kicks off season
Decatur car show brings out enthusiasts, kicks off season
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Decatur car show brings out enthusiasts, kicks off season

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Paul Dignan with his 2016 Jeep Wrangler at the "Beginning of the Year Car Bash" in the Decatur Civic Center parking lot on May 1. "I can't wait for the snow," Dignan said. "I want to a foot of snow. I want 18 inches. I want to go out and just blast it, run through it."

 

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Larry Taylor of Altamont is shown with his 1979 Chevy El Camino at the "Beginning of the Year Car Bash" in the Decatur Civic Center parking lot on Saturday. "The color is great," he said. "It's unique. There were very few of them made."

DECATUR — Larry Taylor and his wife, JoAnn, are self-proclaimed "car people."

The Altamont couple own four cars, including two Chevy Corvettes and a 2005 Chevy SSR. But on Saturday, they chose to show off their blue 1979 Chevy El Camino, which belonged to Larry's dad and has been a project of his for the past few years.

"You never get them finished," he said. "There's always something to do."

The Taylors were among many car people who drove out to the Decatur Civic Center parking lot Saturday afternoon for the second "Beginning of the Year Car Bash."  

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"We like to see the cars," Taylor said. "You can tell, we're car people, and car people are all friendly. They come up and talk to you and tell you you've got a nice-looking car and they appreciate what you've done to it. And it gets you out in the sun and this is America. It don't get no better than this: sitting in the sun watching people with their cars."

Gearheads of all backgrounds showed up in all types of cars, trucks and motorcycles ranging in era from the 1920s to the present. At least 90 cars were present, with organizer Vinny Barbee expecting up to 150.

Barbee, the retired proprietor of Vinny's Barbee-Q, organizes car shows throughout the year. He said the early-in-the-season event is meant to "get everybody's blood flowing." 

This is perhaps more important this year than most after the COVID-19 pandemic led to many cancellations last year

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"Everybody's been pinned up," Barbee said. "The pandemic got everybody last year. But this year, they showed up. And I'm happy that they showed up here today."

Among them were Joe and Jody Mink of Assumption, who were showing off the 1956 Ford Victoria they bought in October. 

"We enjoy it," said Jody Mink. "We like going to the car shows and looking at everybody's cars. And we usually end up seeing them again and again throughout the season, so it's nice."

Sitting next to them was friend Gary Mackling, who was giving them a good-natured ribbing about their preference of vehicle. Mackling brought his 1935 Ford street rod to the show. 

"My dad when I was growing up had a '33 Plymouth Coupe and I just loved riding around in that old car with him," Mackling said. "And we sold it when we moved from Ohio to Illinois. And I made up my mind when I had enough money, I was going to have my street rods. I've owned several; that's the latest one in the bunch."

Proceeds from the event — entry was $15 per vehicle — will go toward feeding the homeless. Barbee has a reputation in Decatur for his barbecue meals, not only for the public, but also for those in need.

"They know what I do to help the homeless and they're here helping me out," Barbee said. "They're coming in droves. I like that."

 

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