Can You Believe It? 50 Years!
By Michigan Captain, Bill Smith
Yes! That’s right. It will be 50 years, this coming September, since the Michigan Wheelmen first participated in the longest running antique car festival in America. Each year, the weekend after Labor Day, The Henry Ford holds what is billed as The Old Car Festival. This festival, which began in 1950, celebrates automobiles from the beginning of the automobile up to 1932. In 1970, some of our early members got our club involved in this event. Many of you may remember that in 1995 the Wheelmen celebrated our 25th anniversary of participation, by holding our annual national meet at the Old Car Festival (OCF). This meet brought 473 members and families to Michigan.
So yes, you can believe it. It’s now been 50 years since those first Wheelmen rolled into Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. To celebrate 50 wonderful years, we will be holding the 53rd Annual Meet in conjunction with this festival, and we want you all to join us!
Now let’s talk about details.
A normal national meet starts Wednesday evening with a century/welcome meeting and registration pickup, and runs through Saturday night, with everyone leaving for home on Sunday morning. Because this meet is tied to the festival, which is a Saturday/Sunday event, we’ve had to adjust the normal schedule. However, we tried to build flexibility into the schedule in case members need to arrive late or leave early. The following schedule is subject to change:
Arrive for the Welcome/Ride meeting and packet pickup.
There has been discussion about whether we will do a century ride at this meet. Due to the metropolitan Detroit area traffic and growth, doing a century nearby would be unsafe. However, if you do want to ride 100 miles, MI Wheelmen John Grace’s Lansing to Dearborn Antique Car Run, might be just your ticket. More details will be available later. The Wheelmen have been involved with this ride periodically since 1985. All riders will have to be self-supported.
However, we are being given a VERY special opportunity. This has never been done before! EVER! Jim Johnson, Director of Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford, has given us a thumbs-up to hold a 50 Mile Ride within the Village to commemorate our 50th anniversary. Period clothing is required, and you will receive a special hangar bar for your Meet Medal. Meet medals are being designed by Wil Hentges of MI. He is the artist who designed the beautiful meet medal and t-shirt for the 2011 Annual Meet held on Mackinac Island.
Packet pickup for late arrivals.
Possible activities include: Swap Meet, Lunch/Awards Banquet, Ford Factory Tour, Henry Ford Estate Tour, Annual Business Meeting, Henry Ford Museum, Evening Mixer at Greenfield Village.
OHWT, Demo, Group Photo, Games, Ice Cream Social, Lamplight Ride, Fireworks.
Sunday will be a repeat of Saturday minus the OHWT and Group Photo. Village Closes at 5p.m. and the Meet is concluded.
As you can see, we have a lot of activities for your enjoyment. Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be surrounded by 600-700 antique automobiles doing their own activities. When you register for the Meet, you’ll be allowed the usage of both the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for all of the days that you are at the Meet, at no additional charge.
Currently contracts are being signed for lodging 4.5 miles from Greenfield Village. Emails will be coming soon with links for booking, and other information about the Meet.
Periodically we will be sending emails with information and live links. If your email address is incorrect in the Wheelmen Roster, or you do not have one listed, and you are interested in staying informed, please send your correct email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you in September, 2020!