Rain, storms thin crowds at Del Shannon Car Show

Coopersville City Councilman Rodney Lloyd was at work at 3:40 a.m. Saturday, parking cars for the Coopersville Summerfest Del Shannon Car Show. When the first storm went through around 5 a.m., Lloyd said he thought the show may be canceled - considering rain was in the forecast all day. "At 5 a.m., it was really coming down,' he said. "But there was a lot of cars out here, even though it was raining.'
Becky Vargo
Aug 15, 2011

Later in the day, as a soaked Lloyd walked down Coopersville’s Main Street with his friends, James Ward and Aaron Konn, he noted it had dried up after that.

“It was beautiful until just a few minutes ago,” he said shortly after 1:30 p.m.

A storm that included blinding rain, lightning and thunder had just rumbled through the area.

“It was sunny,” Ward said. “My wife was putting on sun screen one minute — the next we’re camped under an awning.”

A couple dozen people sought shelter on a double-decker tour bus parked outside one of Coopersville’s museums, said the vehicle’s owner, Dave Good.

“When you have days like today and you have open cars, it’s not any fun,” said his wife, Barb.

That’s why they left some of their other vehicles home in Grand Rapids and brought the big bus to town, the Goods said.

“This is my hometown, so we have to make sure we make the Del Shannon show,” Barb said.

The Goods bought the 1961 Leyland Titan bus at Christmas two years ago in Branson, Mo., and drove it 1,000 miles through freezing weather and snow to its new home in Grand Rapids, Dave said. It gets about 10-12 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. The family is in the process of restoring the bus.

The bus first saw service in Scotland, making a daily run between Glasgow and London. “Big Ben” was shipped to Branson in 1988 to transport tourists. When the Goods purchased the bus, it was being used as a portable sign, Dave said.

Dave, who said he has been working on cars since he was 10 years old, said he likes to see people enjoying the bus.

“It appeals to people of all ages,” he said. “The younger kids thing of ‘Bertie the Bus’ in the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ show,” he said. “The older kids think of ‘Harry Potter’ and the adults say it brings back fond memories of trips to Europe.”

Dave said he gets lots of inquiries about using the bus for special events, but said they are not in that kind of business. “This is strictly a hobby,” he said.

To see a photo gallery from the car show, click here.

Farther down the street, Don and Mary Kloosterhouse of Marne showed off the trophies they had won that day. Don said he almost missed the award ceremony because they kept moving it up as another storm was expected. His car 1934 Ford three-window coupe had received the Sportsman’s Club trophy.

“The coupe has won about a dozen awards so far this year,” Don said.

Don’s Mustang won the Handy Man Sponsor trophy — the car’s first award under the Kloosterhouses’ ownership.

“I just finished her car,” Don said. “I spent all last summer and half of last fall working on it.”

Don said he’d had the coupe for three years and its finish is a big draw. “It’s torridor-red metallic and pearl with ghost flames,” he said.

The Kloosterhouse cars were two of the more than 370 registered in the show this year. Lloyd said the numbers were down because of the weather. Despite that, Lloyd said “there’s been a lot of people here enjoying everything.”

“We have such a wonderful group of volunteers and dedicated car show participants,” said Cindy Timmerman, executive director of the Coopersville Area Chamber of Commerce. “A few drops won’t stop them.”

Timmerman said this was only the second time in 21 years of the car show that they have had a problem with rain.

“Attendance, though down from years past, was strong during the dry periods between the storms,” she said. “Throughout the day, visitors commented about the friendliness and warmth of our wonderful community in spite of less than perfect weather. When straight-line winds swept through our historic Main Street mid-afternoon, visitors assisted vendors to keep their tents and products from getting ruined, so they too could take shelter from the storm.”

Timmerman said in one instance, a large sign was being blown towards some visitors running to take shelter.

“All I could do was shout out from across the street for them to watch out,” she said. “Thankfully, another gentleman saw what was happening, so he ran and successfully grabbed the sign, just in time to keep it from hitting a beautiful vintage car.”

Timmerman complimented the Coopersville Rotary Club for their handling of the car show.

“They took over the show last year and their organizational structure is spot on,” she said.

Timmerman said good weather held for the majority of the weeklong festival honoring Coopersville’s own Del Shannon and participation was good. A concert memorializing the 50th anniversary of Del Shannon’s hit song, “Runaway,” attracted 600 people, she said.

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