I spent this morning wandering the Minnesota State Fairgrounds at the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s Back to the Fifties celebration – 12,000+ vehicles dating from 1964 and before. For a photographer, it’s a treat to the eyes with all the colors and details, reflections, and car enthusiasts. Even though the temperatures were hovering near 90 degrees, there was a plethora of people and families, with many Father’s Day celebrations taking place. As I was getting ready to leave, I saw these two Volkswagen Beetles, and was instantly taken back to my childhood and memories of my father. I remember the small light green Beetle he bought when I was about five or six years old. This was way before children’s car seats, and I would sit on my large stuffed red dog that was wedged over the parking brake between the driver’s and passenger’s seats and watch the world go by. There was also a small cargo area behind the back seat, perfect for one small suitcase, but it would hold me quite nicely. My memories of this little car are all good, and it was a welcome delight to reminisce of my father on this Father’s Day.
Living close to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds has its definite perks, one of which is being able to share in the excitement of the events and the people who attend them. This weekend was the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s Back to the 50’s celebration. The neighborhood has been filled will classic cars from before 1964. And it’s a great opportunity to photograph the colors and vehicles. I wandered from red to orange to yellow to blue to maroon – all in shiny finishes that picked up the reflections of the other cars around. At 9:00am as I was intent on photographing one lovely yellow Bel Air, the PA announcer came on to welcome the 11,500+ registrants for this year’s event. He then introduced the person to sing our National Anthem. All cars stopped, all engines were turned off, and everyone paused. When the singer was done, it is was back to the excitement and the colors that are hallmarks of this event.
For the past 39 years the Minnesota Street Rod Association has held its Back to the 50’s Weekend here in Saint Paul. What started with just a few friends has now grown to over 13,000 members worldwide. For three days our neighborhood by the state fairgrounds has been graced with the most beautiful classic cars cruising down the streets. This weekend brought more than 11,000 custom cars, street rods, and classics that all date from 1964 and before; there was certainly something to excite everyone. I spent a few hours walking the streets today and admiring the cars. On a sunny and warm day the brilliant paint all buffed to a shine was picking up reflections from all around. This wonderful rear fin on a red Bel Air was reflecting the golden colors of the car just next to it. Instantly this whole panel came alive in brightness. It would have been impossible to not smile at these colors of summer so beautifully displayed.