By Mary O’KEEFE
Remember when you could look at a car and know the designer had a great imagination? When cars had shark fins, twin headers and muscle.
Those days can be relived this Saturday at Crescenta Valley Park when the Early Rodders rumble in to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
La Cañada resident Rick Chew is a gear head. He has a love for classic muscle cars and hot rods. He started the Early Rodders as a way to get other gear heads together to network, make new friends and meet with old ones.
“There was some criteria,” he said of early planning stages.
Chew said he needed enough room for lots of cars, an eatery close by and a bathroom accessible.
“The UA [United Artist Theater] had a large parking lot,” Chew said.
The parking lot was a perfect size; it can accommodate about 250 to 300 cars. Nearby Starbucks and Goldstein Bagels had the food and facilities. It all worked.
“And it was close to my home,” Chew added.
Chew is quick to point out that the Early Rodders is not a club but a group of classic car enthusiasts. The time for the gathering was also an important decision. They meet from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Saturday morning.
“There are some [classic car groups] that meet at 5 or 6 [p.m.] and get done at 8 at night. By the time you get home it’s too late,” he said.
The Early Rodders arrive in the morning, have their coffee and bagel, talk to friends and are out of the parking lot by 9 a.m.
“We can get home and get things done,” said Dwight Sityar, Early Rodder enthusiast. “We have time to do ‘honey do’s.”
About 100 to 125 cars show up every Saturday.
“This thing started as hotrods and muscle cars and now the British cars have joined [in]. Its okay – they are all gear heads,” Chew said.
The celebration on Saturday is not just about the cars, but about the community as well. Chew and Sityar have invited community members to help with the celebration.
Crescenta Valley High School Prom Plus Club will be selling sodas, juice and water as part of a fundraiser. Kids from the Fire House, the teen center, will give a skating demonstration to help bring awareness for the need of a skate park they are trying to get developed at the park.
Sityar has made it a point to meet with these organizations and to get the kids involved.
There will be a stage where bands will play everything from rock to country to swing. Prom Plus Club kids will be teaching some dance steps and then invite the audience to join them.
The Early Rodders have invited Crescenta Valley Weekly to celebrate the paper’s second anniversary with their 10th.
There will be food trucks, live music and dancing – and of course amazing classic cars.
Everyone is invited to bring their lawn chairs and join in the community picnic that celebrates 10 years of gear heads doing what they like most – enjoying classic cars and good friends.
“It is an idea that started 10 years ago and we thought it was a good reason to celebrate,” Chew said.
Early Rodders 10th Anniversary celebration is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Crescenta Valley Park, 3901 Dunsmore Ave in La Crescenta.