Organizers take aim at biggest Retrofest yet (GALLERY)

1929 Pierce-Arrow Model 125 Roadster hood ornament at the classic car museum in Blenheim. February 21, 2019. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

The Sam Roberts Band will perform at Tecumseh Park this summer as part of a classic car festival that organizers are expecting to be “chaotic” but in a good way.

RM Sotheby’s is teaming up with Chatham-Kent to make the event better than ever in honour of the company’s 40th anniversary. Owner Rob Myers accompanied by Mayor Darrin Canniff and event chair Fannie Vavoulis made the announcement in the classic car museum in Blenheim Thursday afternoon.

Retrofest is usually in May but is being pushed back to the June 21 weekend this year so it can be celebrated on the real anniversary of RM Sotheby’s. The event usually attracts 500-700 classic cars but Myers said he is aiming for thousands this year.

“I want it to be chaotic,” Myers said. “Everywhere you look downtown I want you to see a classic automobile. I live my life in that style and fashion you know, a little bit chaotic. It wouldn’t be any fun if you invited all your family and friends down and there was nothing going on, so you’ve got to have stuff going on everywhere. The more cars the merrier.”

Canniff echoed Myers’ sentiments and said the municipality is backing him 100 per cent and wants this event to be one of the biggest ever in the area.

“We are going to be talking about this for the next 40 years,” Canniff said. “I love the way he thinks big. When we are sitting down having a beer and discussing plans for this, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger… I am confident we are going to have more people in downtown Chatham than we may have ever had before.”

Aside from the thousands of cars and Juno Award-winning band, Myers has lined up much more. The event will start on Friday afternoon with the ceremonial parade followed by a full performance from the Sam Roberts band in Tecumseh Park.

Myers said he’s really excited about bringing in some of the rarest cars in the world that people may never be able to see again in their life. The “once-in-a-lifetime collector car display” will be on Saturday afternoon behind the Civic Centre in Chatham.

Myers’ said he is also making sure there will be something for every age this year.

“There are going to be these robotic elephants that I bought and restored,” Myers said. “They are literally full-sized mechanical elephants that will be walking down the street with saddles on that kids can ride. They are very unusual. They were built for the Worlds Fair in 1940. There are those and bunch of other crazy stuff.”

Also on Saturday will be the official car show in downtown Chatham where Myers is bringing celebrity judges, including Wayne Carini of the Chasing Classic Cars television series. The event will be topped off with entertainment at the Capitol Theatre Saturday night. Myers said he has been kept in the dark about what exactly that entertainment will be though.

“They kicked me out of talks when it came to what will be going on at the theatre Saturday night, except for the fact I’ll have to pay for it,” Myers said jokingly.

Myer’s added all the proceeds collected for the events at Retrofest will go towards local charities like the Children’s Treatment Centre, Chatham-Kent Hospice and the Foundation of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

He advised everyone to keep their ears to the ground because more announcements will be made over the next few months.