Downtown Business Association event expected to bring tens of thousands to Avenida Del Mar Sunday
By Jim Shilander
Sunday’s Downtown Business Association Car Show will likely seem similar to previous years for most in attendance, but there has been a change at the top.
Dave Anderson, who headed up the car show for the last 14 years, retired this year. Josie Rietkerk, the new chairman of the DBA’s car show committee, however, has regularly helped plan the event over the past several years.
“It’s a great time,” Rietkerk said. “We’ve found out there’s about 100 more cars that want to come in than we have room for. We just found that out Monday and Tuesday. My phone’s been ringing off the hook.”
The car show, which, along with the holiday-themed “Puttin’ on the Glitz,” is one of the DBA’s largest events of the year. It usually attracts between 20,000 and 30,000 people and about 300 classic cars. But in the past, that number has often been dependent on weather.
Anderson has also been available to help, Rietkerk said, but becoming familiar with the process of putting together the show over the last several years has been a big help.
“I’ve served on the board, so I’m not totally foreign to it,” Rietkerk said of the car show.
This year’s event will include an antique fire truck courtesy of the Orange County Fire Authority. There will also be a live band playing on a stage at the corner of Ola Vista and Avenida Del Mar. There will also be a ’50’s-themed booth set up to take photos.
There will also be a larger award ceremony than in years past, with approximately 15 awards being given out in different categories.
Many of the cars that have regularly been a part of the event will be returning as well, Rietkerk said.
DBA office manager Jessica Sweredoski said the group is looking, as much as possible, to maintain the nostalgic feel of the car show this year, especially with next year being the milestone 20th show.
Another change will be the involvement of South Orange County Rods and Customs, which will help set up the event. That often has meant managing long backups in the wee small hours of the morning on El Camino Real as car enthusiasts line up for choice spots to display their vehicles.
DBA President Christina Carbonara admitted that when Anderson retired she was “a little nervous” by the prospect of losing so much institutional memory and know-how.
“He’d been talking about it for a few years now, and we knew it was going to happen sooner or later,” Carbonara said. “But everyone’s stepped up to the plate. We’ve got a good team behind us and we think it will go as well as possible.”
Carbonara will be one of the judges for the larger awards portion of the event. She said the increasing number of awards was born from feedback from previous events. She and other judges, including San Clemente City Councilman Chris Hamm, will also be much more visible this year.
Even if some of those judges might need a little bit of help. Carbonara admitted to not being the most knowledgeable about the particulars of some of the vehicles.
“We’re going to walk around with actual ‘car guys,’” Carbonara said. “They can give as advice. Otherwise, I’d just say ‘That looks pretty,’ or ‘I like the color of those rims.’ They’ll be able to tell is what to look for. And it’ll be a learning experience for me too.”
Both Rietkerk and Carbonara said their business experience gave them an idea of what to expect. Reitkirk founded Stella Lucy gluten free market and now owns AMO Construction. In particular, Carbonara said, as a caterer, she was “kind of treating it like a wedding,” as well as a potential learning experience.
“There might be some inside tweaking that we have to do for next year, but I think what the community as a whole is going to see is the same event they’ve come down for, hopefully a little bit better,” she said.
The show begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Free shuttle services will be available from San Clemente High School and local restaurants will have food booths. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for Family Assistance Ministries in San Clemente. The regular farmer’s market will still take place south of the car show.