Sure to be a showstopper at the 2019 Dayton Concours d Elegance at Carillon Park: Boss Bird , a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am owned by Mike Garblik and Eric Larson of Dayton, the only drag race funny car in the world powered by a Pontiac engine using nitro-methane fuel. With an estimated 3,000 horsepower, it is the first Pontiac to exceed 250 mph in the standing quarter mile. Contributed photo

Family-friendly event is the stuff of car lovers’ dreams

Grand classic cars plus 50th anniversary of Pontiac Firebird Trans Am to be celebrated.

Next weekend promises to be a big one in the Miami Valley as the 2019 Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park celebrates its 13th year.

The event may have a fancy name, but it’s anything but stuffy. A full schedule of family-friendly happenings will offer something for everyone. Here it is in chronological order:

Saturday morning fun

The weekend will kick off Sept. 14 with a special edition of Dayton Cars and Coffee. This morning gathering, which is free and open to any car, will take place in the parking lot of the Carillon Brewing Co. at the park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., from 8 to 11 a.m. Hundreds of vehicles usually show up; it’s a show in itself.

Saturday night is for visiting the ‘Big Easy’

A dressy casual Preview Party with a jazzy New Orleans theme is the highlight of Saturday evening from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The party on the park grounds will preview concours automobiles and feature an automotive art pavilion, music, silent auction, food and adult beverages. Brock Masterson’s will provide catering and there will be craft beers, premium wine and artisan spirits. Tickets are $95 per person, or $85 for Dayton History members. Reservations are required. Go online to www.daytonconcours.com or call 937-293-2841 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

The concours, presented by AAA Miami Valley, will showcase 200 antique and classic automobiles, motorcycles and scooters. Featured this year will be grand classic cars like Duesenberg, Rolls Royce, Packard, Cadillac, Bentley and more, plus the 50th anniversary of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am will be celebrated.

Vehicles will be judged for awards in 24 classes, said Concours Chairman Skip Peterson. In addition, a number of specialty awards will be presented, including the R.H. Grant Best of Show, Col. Edward Deeds Judge’s Choice, Charles F. Kettering People’s Choice, Jeffrey Siler Spirit Award, Taj Ma Garaj Award, Hagerty Youth Judging Award, Chic Kleptz Award and the Ray Keyton American Icon Award.

The parade of class-winning cars, motorcycles and major award winners will be presented at 3 p.m.

“The Concours d’Elegance is our biggest fundraiser,” said Lauryn Bayliff, Dayton History’s director of community development. “It contributes to our bottom line, for which we are very grateful, but it’s also our best attended event – it gets 7,000 people into the park in one day.

“It’s a really great way for us to show off how beautiful the campus is,” she continued. “People will be able to step into the historic buildings too, interact with our interpreters, see demonstrations and learn about the history of Dayton.”

Be sure to ride the indoor Carousel of Dayton Innovation featuring one-of-a-kind characters such as Orville Wright’s dog, a Dayton soap box derby car and a soda can with the Dayton-made pop top. Outside, take a turn riding on the park’s Rail and Steam Society’s miniature trains.

Other attractions

An increasingly popular aspect of the event is the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild reunion during which hand-built model cars will be shown in the Dicke Transportation Center. Guildsmen from across the country will display concept car models they built as teenagers in the ’50s and ’60s as entries in a General Motors-sponsored contest of that era.

Live entertainment, an automotive art pavilion and a variety of local food at a food court and beverages will be featured. The park’s 65-acre campus is home to more than 30 historic structures; Dayton History preserves and cares for 3 million-plus artifacts, and all exhibits will be open. Always popular are the 1930s print shop and early settlement area.

Dayton History is building for the future

Bayliff noted the park’s active construction projects.

“Our new Heritage Center of Regional Leadership will open several weeks after the concours, and it makes a big impression on the campus,” she said. “We also are working on Barn 17, moved from the former Montgomery County fairgrounds. You will be able to see some of those materials as well as it is added to the campus.”

A canal superintendent’s 1895 office has been moved from a hillside to be closer to the park’s canal lock area.

“One of the original components of the park is the canal lock that Col. Deeds had brought in here. We’re working on getting that area to be more on the interpretive circle,” Bayliff said.

What it adds up to

All proceeds from the weekend go to Dayton History, Montgomery County’s official historical organization, to underwrite various programs for thousands of schoolchildren, and maintain facilities.

How to go

General concours admission is $25 for adults at the door, or $20 in advance through Sept. 14, $10 for children 17-3; children younger than 3 and members of Dayton History are free. Go online to www.daytonconcours.com or call 937-293-2841 for more information.

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