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Classic car community

Mark Brooky • Jul 31, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Those who drive and display classic cars at car shows have their own community.

Nearly 400 entries for Sunday’s Coast Guard Festival Cruise-in Car Show created a crowd-pleasing community in downtown Grand Haven. They filled the first four blocks of Washington Avenue and spilled onto side streets.

“I was here by 5:45 a.m. and there were already at least 15 people I know,” said Chase VanDyne of Holland.

VanDyne was showing his nearly 50-year-old Chevrolet ambulance. He said it was built as a Suburban and almost immediately converted into an ambulance in April 1969. It was in service in Hugo, Colorado, so it had no rust when VanDyne bought it about a year ago from a collection in Oregon.

“It only had 25,000 miles on it,” he said.

Dr. Barb Bytwerk, a Grand Haven veterinarian, has been the event chairwoman for the festival’s car show for the past three years. She said this year’s 385 entries is a record.

“We got extra room this year with the Harbourfront Place parking lot,” she said. “We wouldn’t have been able to fit them all in without it.”

Bytwerk said the show runs on its dozen volunteers, as well as the help of the car owners.

“The participants know exactly what they’re doing and make it easy for us every year,” she said. “Some come in as early as 4:30 (Sunday morning). I got here at 6 and there were already about 100 cars.”

The Baker brothers and their side-by-side Ford Model A’s were among the many participants. Steven from Nunica has a 1931 and his brother, George of Muskegon, drove down his 1930 model. The two brothers and a third, the late Richard Baker, all served in the Vietnam War.

See more photos of the car show on the Tribune’s Gallery of the Week.

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