October is a beautiful time in the Bay Area; there's mild weather, fall festivals, and stores filled with autumn-themed merchandise. But there's also the Park Street Classic Car Show--one of the best car shows I've seen--on one of my favorite Alameda streets. This year, the show celebrated its 20th year, and there were over 400 cars in attendance flashin' some chrome and fresh wax.
Of all the classics, I'm partial to Mustangs (as you'll see from the photos below), but there's a car in this show for every auto enthusiast. Last year, Chevy Impalas seemed to dominate the show, and there were no Chevy Novas, my second favorite model. This year, Mustangs definitely seemed to outnumber all other models, followed closely by Camaros, and I was happy to find three Novas. There were also Chevelles, Bel Airs, classic fire trucks, a Jaguar, a Model T, a couple VW Beetles, and even a Lotus. And much more besides.
I think my favorite part about the show, however, are the people: Men standing together in groups talking about the merits of one model versus another or leaning over a car in hushed respect, dads dragging their kids from one car to another, totally oblivious to their cries of exhaustion and boredom, and couples leaning under the hood to check out the engine compartment. This is an event that allows the kid to come to the surface in even the most stoic heart.
There's also a DJ to make the magic complete with music from the 50s and 60s. This year, Lee Auto Supply held a raffle and the Park Street Business Association held a drawing for prizes. You could purchase shirts and pins at the information booth. Many of the shops on Park offered discounts and specials to lure in shoppers, and with multiple toy shops (carrying classic and vintage toys as well as games), antique stores, a pet shop, a bead shop, a bookstore, a magazine shop, and tiny fashion and gift boutiques, you'll find plenty to do in between and after your car browsing.
You can also grab a bite to eat from one of the many great restaurants on Park Street. There's a New York Pizza and Bowzer's Pizza that sell slices and whole pies. You can also try The Sandwich Board, Ole's Waffle Shop, Burma Superstar, and Zen Restaurant. You can get ice cream and desserts from Tucker's Ice Cream, coffee at Starbucks or Peet's, and even boba teas from Tuttimelon.
If you want to drive to this event, you have to get there early because the parking garage fills up fast, and you do have to pay the meters on Saturday. Also, wear a hat and sunglasses because it's usually sunny, and there's no shade while you're browsing the cars. Most importantly, bring someone with you who doesn't mind stopping at each car while you rattle off random facts and peer under the hood (although you'll find many other friends willing to join you under the hood). Check out the gallery below, and visit the website to find out more information about the show: http://www.shopparkstreet.com/carshow.html.