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Barney’s Auto Fest to feature
wide range of vehicles

The 4th annual event moves
to La Grange’s Main Street

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2003) – Street rods have always been Barney Barnett’s passion. Among the ones he owns are a ’44 Coupe, ’60 Corvette, ’64 Corvette, ’69 Corvette, and a ’33 Ford, just to name a few.
“I used to play with old cars and trucks before I could walk,” said the 60-year-old collector. Barnett has now turned his passion for these modified automobiles into an annual event.

Classic 68 Camaro


Classic 68 Camaro

On July 5-6, the Fourth Annual Barney’s Auto Fest will be held on Main Street in La Grange. From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, patrons can browse among the variety of street rods assembled around the courthouse and hunt for bargains at a swap meet. Main Street, Second and Walnut streets will only be open to foot traffic.
There is a $15 registration fee for this open car show. More than 100 cars are already pre-registered, a number that supersedes last year’s entries.
Rods will range from a 1929 T-Bucket to a 2003 Mustang, said organizer Holly Johnson. Entrants are not just locals but travel from Louisville, Indiana and Ohio, as well.
This is the first time for this event to be held on Main Street, said Johnson. It was previously held at the Oldham County Fairgrounds in conjunction with the swap meet. Registration for the swap meet is also $15.
Barnett instigated the Auto Fest because of “his love of automobiles,” said Johnson. After constantly being approached by people asking him to put together such an event, he did. Johnson said the event has evolved into a sort of get-together, “Something nice for the whole family to enjoy.”

Classic 67 Mustang


Classic 67 Mustang

Barnett said he has traveled to places such as Knoxville, Cincinnati and Paducah to attend car shows. He said he sees this event as “nice to have in the county,” in addition to being a unique way to bring money into the community.
Cars will be judged on a point system and a safety inspection conducted by a representative of the National Street Rod Association. Barnett said it was always helpful to have “another set of eyes looking at our cars.”
The National Street Rod Association is dedicated to safe street rodding and backs it up with a program giving every street rodder an opportunity to have their rod inspected. The association’s voluntary Vehicle Safety Inspection Program includes 23 different items ranging from lighting systems to suspension.
Trophies and door prizes will be awarded. Different categories the cars will be judged by include street rod original, pickup truck, imports and an under construction class.
All registrants will receive a goody bag containing special coupon offers from Main Street merchants. Linda Foster, owner of Christmas in Kentucky, is participating in this event with Barnett. She said many merchants would try to stay open with hours similar to the Auto Fest.
Although most shops are closed on Sunday, some may open for this special event. Foster said it is “very good exposure, and will be a lot of fun.”
Foster said that when the National Street Rod Association holds an event in Louisville, “We get a lot of people staying in town in our hotels. It’s always kind-of fun to have the hot rods running around town.”
This year’s 34th Annual Street Rod Nationals, the biggest street rod event in the world, will be held July 31 and Aug. 1-3 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.
Johnson said 175-185 cars are expected to be on show in La Grange for what has expanded into a two-day event. Other activities include a Saturday night street dance on the square from 6 p.m. to 10 pm by the Majik Jack Band. On Sunday a poker run is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
There will also be a 50-50 drawing, where the winning ticket receives half of the jackpot and the other half either given away or used for event expenses.

• For more information or to register, call Barnett at (502) 222-7278 or Johnson at (502) 548-8760.

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