From the rides that defined the Great Depression to the luxury sports cars of the modern era, a century worth of cars were on display under the hot summer sun in Elma on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the 13th annual “Heat On The Street” car and motorcycle show.
The event, which was hosted by the Elma Chamber of Commerce, saw thousands of people take to the streets of downtown Elma during a weekend heat wave that spanned across Western Washington. As the smell of fresh BBQ and the roars of engines drowned out any other senses in the area, cars and eventgoers packed the pavement as West Main Street was blocked off from 1st Street through 6th Street.
Whether it was the 1932 Ford Roadster, 1969 Dodge Dart GT, or even a 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray, almost every type of classic ride could be found and with every ride came an origin story different than the last.
“After nine years of working on it, I actually finished the last bit of polishing last night so I could have it ready for today,” said Aberdeen resident Ken Ham, describing his bright orange 1964 Chevrolet Malibu SS. “I bought it from a friend for $800 at his shop as a project and I rebuilt it for $15,000. It was a lot of work but I’m (here) to finally show it off after all these years.”
Ham, who wore a bright orange shirt to match his ride, was eager to show curious people his vehicle as he occasionally wiped away grime from the glossy exterior of the car. He noted the most challenging part of rebuilding his car was not the money it took, but the amount of time needed to dedicate to the restoration.
Luckily for the eventgoers interested in cars, Ham’s vehicle was just one of the hundreds on display that day. While the Elma Chamber of Commerce stated in the days before the event it expected around 350 registered vehicle entries, nearly 400 vehicles in total were on display during the six-hour occasion, with 360 already in place within the first couple of hours.
Scott Anderson, who was attending the car show, said he didn’t know what to expect from the event when he drove into Elma.
“I overheard the announcer say that there were 360 cars on-site so far and I was just amazed,” Anderson said. “I left my glasses at the golf course I was playing at yesterday and decided to stop here on the way back. Lots of nice cars here.”
While the car show was the biggest part of the event, other activities were going on to create a fun atmosphere for the whole family.
Kids were invited to participate in a Hot Wheels race for the chance to win a prize, vendors served fresh food and cold beverages to fight the afternoon heat, and local businesses opened their doors for people to get a quick moment of shade.
As the event concluded, people were encouraged to travel up the road for more car-filled fun at the Grays Harbor Raceway, which hosted Coca-Cola Night and featured intense races between IMCA Modifieds, 360 Sprints, Limited Sprints and Hornets.