Manny and Maria Arias’s 50s Roadhouse in Knights Ferry hosted the inaugural ‘Fifties Festival and Car Show’ this past weekend. This event is not to be confused with the annual Knights Ferry Car Show, which coordinator Miles Shuper noted will be set later in the year, though no date has been officially determined.
Instead, this Fifties Festival and Car Show had its first official event on Saturday, June 5. Bill Adams, the coordinator of the event, explained, “We’re hoping to make this the start of Graffiti Week and we’re going to continue with the ‘50s theme.”
While plenty of cars at the show were from the ‘50s, the event also featured the Victory Bombshells, a local patriotic community of gals that came dressed as pin-up girls, had music from the era playing all over the property, and they hosted a 50/50 raffle as well as a hula hoop and dancing contest. Adams described it as “very Americana, very patriotic.”
“All the proceeds are going to Pacific Project Heroes, which supports veterans,” committee member Caley Haakma explained.
Haakma sat at the registration table helping people sign in while local girls Aubrie Haakma and Brooklyn Butler sold shirts from the event with sponsors listed on the back, with many local firms joining in to help support and sponsor the show.
“We have people from Sacramento, the pin-up girls are from Tracy ... we’re getting people from all outside the area,” Adams said of attendees, noting that they were heavily leaning into the popular fifties niche.
While the event had plenty going on, and at the end of the day organizers handing a total of nine awards out, the cars and owners themselves had plenty of personality.
The Festival and Car Show encouraged attendees to dress in their finest fifties threads and Shenique Borunda did not disappoint. With hair curled in a fifties style and a blue polka dotted dress that matched her 1966 Ford Mustang, Borunda fit right into the scene despite it being her first car show.
“I bought it for 500 bucks,” she explained, motioning to the freshly restored vehicle. “She was spray-painted brown and it was a father-daughter project for 20-plus years.”
Borunda’s father owned an upholstery shop so she would tear everything in the car out and he would help put it back together. Soon after buying it, as is typical, life got in the way of restoring the car. Kids and college soon took up Borunda’s hours and while she did come in to fix up the car when she could, it was sitting in a shop for the better part of 10 years. Enter, Mother’s Day 2021.
“My dad snuck it out back in November and he surprised me with it in my driveway on Mother’s Day ... I ugly cried,” she admitted with a laugh.
She’s testing out the car show ground now, but takes her car out whenever she can, often getting plenty of honks and comments on Betty Blue.
A Fury Restored
It was also Robert Stack’s first time showing his car out at a public show. Stack came in with a 1956 Plymouth Fury restored to complete original condition, “just like it would’ve been rolled down the showroom floor.”
Stack had his wife, Susan, and his brother John Stack as well as nephew Darren to thank for their advice, help, and support while restoring the car. He had to get parts from all over the United States to restore the vehicle, and his work as well as the car’s history was authenticated by the Detroit Chrysler Museum.
“My dad bought one of these when I was a little boy and I couldn’t find one so I searched around and finally found this one,” Stack relayed. “It was just old and the whole car was just disassembled when I got it; everything’s been redone.”
Stack also noted that while there were over 4,000 originally produced, he believes this is one of the 100 Furys from that year still left.
“One neat thing is if you look inside, there’s a record player and you can play records on it,” Stack pointed out. The record player was switched out soon after for 8-tracks, but this was a unique feature to see on cars.
While the record player was a unique original touch to the Plymouth, Linda Jo Carlson was all about unique touches added to her car after production.
“My dad passed away and the siblings asked me what I would like and I said, ‘Well, dad’s old car,’” Carlson said. Soon, it was shipped from Alabama but had rust all over the car.
A friend of Carlson’s redid the engine and sprayed the car, but Carlson “just had a moment ... and I said ‘I gotta bling this!’”
Soon, the 1963 Ford Falcon was covered in glitter. When the seat fabric started to wear, she cut up an old sequined blouse and patched it. She pointed out old favorite bags and belts that she’d clipped and stuck in places in the engine or bedazzled on the interior.
“Every time some jewelry breaks, it ends up in the car,” a local commented. Others suggested she should leave out a basket during car shows for people to drop their shiny donations in.
Despite the frequent blinging of the car over the last five years, Carlson maintains that it’s still fully-functional and remains beloved by those who see it. She proudly sported a “Most Unique Rat Rod” award from a past car show and joked that it is, indeed, kind of a rat rod, but she loves it all the same.
The annual Fifties Festival and Car Show will come again next year. Coordinators of the event were grateful for all of the volunteers that helped pull it together and noted that they’ll be expanding the 50s era contests next year and hope to continue it for years to come, raising money for a good local cause.