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Bruce Johnson knew the car needed work.

It had some rust and a couple of dents. Someone had glued a rabbit fur cover over the seats.

But the lipstick red, 1967 Pontiac GTO was just the car he wanted.

So in 1976, Johnson — then living in Minnesota — bought the car and took two years to restore it. In 1999, then-Gov. Jesse Ventura rode in Johnson’s car in a parade.

On Saturday, Johnson and other car buffs will be able to share their stories and love of all things automotive during the 12th Annual Nazarene Nationals Car Show.

The annual event — which features a new “ice cream cruise” this year — runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Fremont Nazarene Church, 960 Johnson Road. The public is invited and admission is free to spectators.

“We’re hoping to fill the entire south parking lot with all types of cars, trucks and motorcycles,” said Johnson, an event co-coordinator.

This year, there will be a $10 entrance fee for show participants. Part of these funds will go to this year’s charity benefiting from the event: Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity. Funds also will be used to help offset costs.

The event, hosted by the Men’s Ministry of the church, is a fundraiser for that group.

As in past years, the event will feature a variety of activities for car buffs and families.

New activities include the “Ice Cream Cruise to A&W,” which takes place at the end of the show when car enthusiasts will caravan out to the fast-food shop at 4260 N. Broad St.

“We wanted to add something different to the car show,” Johnson said.

Music by Wildfire Entertainment also is being added to the show this year. The car-cruising-type music will include tunes from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

Veterans will be honored this year via a new contest category — The Veterans’ Choice Trophy. The Disabled American Veterans will have a table with information about that organization and will select the winner of this trophy.

Various other trophies will be awarded and the show has various classes, including: Best Mopar; Best GM; Best Ford; Best Paint; Best Old School Rod; Best Race Car; Best Rat Rod; Family’s Choice; Best Motorcycle of Show.

Car judging starts at 1:30 p.m., with the trophy awards presentation at 2:30 p.m.

A variety of other contests will be included in the event as well.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., motor enthusiasts can test their skills at guessing how many lug nuts are in a jar and identifying old hub caps, hood ornaments and dash boards shown in pictures. Those with the most right answers win door prizes.

Besides activities geared to car buffs, the event is designed to appeal to families, too.

“We want something that’s fun for the whole family, very relaxing, very laid back and I think we’ve got a lot of stuff that’s of interest to the entire family,” said Dan Layman, event co-coordinator.

Face painting and balloon animals will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event includes bounce houses again this year. The Women’s Ministry will have the Dessert Shoppe from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the church. A variety of baked goods will be sold. Proceeds from the sales of desserts will benefit that ministry.

A farmer’s market is set from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Concessions will be sold. A bratwurst, chips and soda costs $5 and a hot dog, chips and soda costs $4.

A pedal tractor pull competition is planned again this year. The state-certified Barnyard Pedal Pulls of Herman will conduct this activity.

“We’ve been doing this for the last four or five years,” Layman said. “If you can pedal a pedal tractor, you can be in the competition.”

People of various ages can participate.

“They’ve got tractors for little kids — 3 or 4 years old — all the way to adult,” Layman said. “I’ve seen 300-pound men get on that tractor and pull the sled and see who can pull it the farthest. I know a lot of people come just for that part of the car show.”

Trophies will be awarded to the winners of the boy and girl categories in each age group from 4 to 12.

Between 300 and 400 spectators come to the show each year and event organizers hope area residents will attend.

Those who do might even get to hear a good car story or two.

Johnson, who lives in Arlington, still has that Pontiac GTO.

“I take it to car shows and drive it around town and to church on Sundays,” he said. “It brings back memories.”


News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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