One of largest antique and classic car shows on the East Coast – and in the country – celebrates its 51st year when it rolls into Macungie Memorial Parks’ 42 acres this weekend (Aug. 1,2 & 3).
This huge show brings over 1,200 vehicles and 34 car clubs from far and near and has a host of activities for the entire family, not just the car enthusiast.
Every year the show features one particular car or car brand and this year it’s the cars from the Dodge Brothers.
The Dodge brothers, Horace and John, began their historic trek back in 1896 when Horace Dodge, a machinist and inventor, received a patent for dirt resistant bicycle bearings, upon which he shared the credit with his older brother John.
As chronicled by industry trade journal, Automotive News, the brothers started production in 1897 as Evans and Dodge Bicycle Company in Windsor, Ontario. In 1901, the brothers opened what was the largest machine shop in Detroit. As a result, and in 1902, they began supplying automotive parts to automakers including Oldsmobile. The business got so good that in 1903 the brothers gave up those contracts and began making parts exclusively for Ford Motor Company, while accepting a 10 percent stake in the company for assuming the risk.
Then in 1914, the brothers introduced their first Dodge vehicle dubbed “Old Betsy.” Months later, the Dodge boys gave up all Ford business to build their own vehicles.
In 1920 John Dodge dies of influenza and later brother Horace died from cirrhosis. At that time Dodge was the second-largest automaker behind Ford.
After their deaths, New York bankers bought Dodge Brothers from widows Matilda Rausch Dodge and Anna Thomson Dodge for $146 million in cash.
Then in 1928, Walter P. Chrysler’s Chrysler Corp., bought the Dodge Brothers from the bankers for $170 million.
Chrysler then opened a Dodge truck plant in 1938 and in 1945 introduced the Dodge Power Wagon, a civilian version of the heavy-duty 4X4 trucks built for WWII and which is in production today as a Ram Power Wagon.
Other significant happenings occurred in 1964 when Dodge introduced the 426 HEMI V8 engine that was intended for race teams but was subsequently offered as a street version in 1966. A Dodge with this engine was the hottest stock engine at all drag strips across the country in the late 60s.
Then in 1984, another milestone was made when Chrysler introduced the first minivan.
So the Dodge Brothers begat a long history of automotive excellence that began by making bicycles.
At this years Awk Fescht, the Dodge Brothers will be represented by the Dodge Brothers Club of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Along with them will be a myriad of Dodge vehicles.
For those who have attended Awk Fescht in past years you’ll know it’s not just cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles on display, but a pot purri of automotive accessories, parts, collectables including toys, books, clothing, antique auto flea market, old bicycles.
There’s family entertainment via an Arts & Crafts area, a flea market, art work, kids’ shows and activities that include Kinderland and Crayola Corner, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists, clowns, a moon bounce and more. There’s also the nearby Macungie swimming pool and park for the kids.
While dad checks the cars, mom can slip into the Bingo hall in the basement of the main park building. All the while the show has its annual compliment of musical entertainment with bands like Flamin’ Dick and the Hot Rods, Dave Frey and Friends, Crazy Hearts and more that take the band shell stage daily.
Then on Saturday night beginning at 9:30 p.m., the show fires off a fireworks display.
Of course you won’t go hungry at the Fescht since a host of food vendors offer the gamut of cheese steaks to funnel cakes and lots more.
Admission is $7 for adults, $2 for kids ages 15 and under and if you decide another day is needed to see it all, stop by the information booth for a Next Day discounted pass. Parking is located throughout the borough but you can alleviate any jams by coming early as the gates open at 6 a.m..
Awkscht Fescht is located off Main Street in Macungie and for you out-of-towners, it’s located between routes 100 and 222. For more information check firstname.lastname@example.org.