By Ron Steward
If you’re a car enthusiast, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Mainstreet Memories Car Show, taking place the last Saturday in July each year in beautiful downtown Port Huron.
Promoted as a Community based, non-judged car show, their tagline reads; “It’s about Community, not Competition.” “We want everyone to relax, view the many cars, see old friends, make new ones, and enjoy the downtown area. Come see what Port Huron has to offer!”
Bringing community together is what made this show a Port Huron tradition 19 years ago, but over the years it faded away. The vision to resurrect this once grand car show to Downtown Port Huron is back, and thanks to the support of many, it is once again a huge success!
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Their mission statement reads: To host a World-Class car show in beautiful downtown Port Huron that brings car enthusiasts together with local businesses to support our community and local charities. The Board of Directors for Mainstreet Memories Inc. is working closely with the Port Huron City Council and Special Events Committee to make this show the area’s largest one-day event of its kind.
Last year (only the second year back!) exceeded all expectations, lining the streets with over 300 cars and bringing thousands of enthusiasts to the downtown area. Adding to the weekend excitement, Scott Beedon of Sperry’s Moviehouse in downtown Port Huron, supports enthusiasts by showing car movies on the Friday night before the show.
In the spirit of local community, a high quality full color event booklet is distributed to show participants and supporting businesses. The booklet includes a map of supporting downtown businesses, so participants know where to eat, drink, and shop.
In 2015 Kristi Hazard from Mainstreet Port Huron began a discussion on reviving the downtown Port Huron car show. Kristi started by recruiting six local car enthusiasts to come on board for the 2016 Committee. Kristi had also contacted Mary Taylor from Council on Aging to be part of this event.
Ron Steward was elected to be the Chairman and under his leadership, the committee decided that they would need one full year to plan an event of this magnitude. After all, it was important that this show succeed or it would never happen again. After a year of planning, numerous meetings, and contacting sponsors, the show was coming back to life after a 12 year hiatus. A name was decided; “MainStreet Memories Car Show” and it would always be held on the last Saturday in July. So the date was set for July 30, 2016. The committee designated that the benefactor would be the Council on Aging (COA), serving St. Clair County.
Although the day was not perfect, (there was light rain throughout the morning), the 2016 MainStreet Memories Car Show had 200 cars entered. The show was considered a huge success; the downtown show had been resurrected!
In 2017, some of the Committee members changed, and they decided to formally incorporate the group. MainStreet Memories Car Show, Inc. became a legal, registered entity. With Ron Steward as President, Gary Niver as Vice President, and Gary Steward as CFO; Jim Moore II, Craig Albert, Dave Giles, Tim Floyd, and Hans Houston made up the rest of the Board. They decided that the approach would be to support the downtown businesses and community, and promoted it as such. The show grew to over 300 cars in its second year and made a statement throughout the community!
In 2018, Holly Steward joined the Board, and the group also applied for and obtained 501(c)3 non-profit tax status.
Each year, all proceeds are donated to the Council on Aging, Inc., serving St. Clair County. “Our Senior Citizens are an important part of our community. And the COA makes good use of the proceeds, providing transportation, meals and activities for our seniors.” Volunteers to the COA work closely with the MainStreet Memories committee to staff an event the community can be proud of.
Held this year on Saturday July 28th, 2018 the Downtown Car Show runs from 10am–4pm with parking and registration beginning at 8:00am. The MainStreet Memories Arts & Crafts Show will also be held at McMorran Place during this time. Check out their website www.mainstreetmemoriesph.com for more information and to register. A great show is being planned for July 28th with over 400 vehicles expected this year and is growing into a family-oriented event for the entire community.
The fact that this group of volunteers, who affectionately call themselves “gearheads,” has pulled this off so successfully can be credited to their hard work and tenaciousness.
The combined gifts they have made to COA for the first two shows totaled close to $15,000.
Their mission is to create a world class car show to bring people to our community and to support COA’s services and programs. They are succeeding admirably with both and were awarded the 2017 Community Service Award at a dinner held by the Council on Aging celebrating their 50th year anniversary.
Donations can be made by check, Money Order, PayPal, or with a Credit/Debit Card by going to: www.mainstreetmemoriesph.com. While you are there, be sure to check out pictures and videos of past shows and follow them on Facebook at MainstreetMemoriesPH.
Ron Steward is the President of Mainstreet Memories Car Show, Inc. His background in car shows includes Lead for the Port Huron High School Car Show (1999-2001), Lead Judge for the Keith Peterson Memorial Car Show (2007-2014) and helping judge or providing support at other shows throughout the years. With a Business Degree from SC4, he is employed by Eissman Automotive LLC as Maintenance Manager. Married for thirty-six years to his wife Donna, they have two children and one grandchild. They own two collector cars, a 1968 Chevelle SS 396, and a 2013 Camaro RS/SS. Growing up during the muscle car era, he got interested in cars at a young age. His uncle Bill was a true car guy with a collection of cars. The one that struck him the most was a beautiful Blue 1938 5-window Chevy Coupe. After this, he was bit by the bug and his interest grew.In 1999, he began helping Port Huron High School out with their show and quickly became the Head of the Committee. It grew over the next couple years. He left after the 2001 show.Helping to judge at various local shows throughout the next few years, in 2006 he was asked by Jim Vaness to help judge the Fort Gratiot Car Show. After a couple years, he became the Lead Judge and worked diligently to help market and grow the show until 2014.In early 2015, Kristi Hazard from Mainstreet Port Huron began a discussion on reviving the downtown Port Huron car show. Kristi recruited local car enthusiasts to come on board and Ron was one of six people brought together. In 2017, it was decided to formally incorporate the group into Mainstreet Memories Car Show, Inc. and he was elected President. In 2018, the Board obtained a 501(c)3 non-profit tax status.
He is a supporter of the Downtown area and wants to see it revive and flourish once again. He believes it’s currently on the right track and with everyone’s support, it will grow!
Thanks for reading.