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Kinsmen Club of Brantford travels back in time with annual car show

Local NewsKinsmen Club of Brantford travels back in time with annual car show

Around 200 classic cars filled up the Paris Fairgrounds for the 48th annual Kinsmen Club of Brantford Annual Car Show and Swap Meet on Sunday, September 17, 2023. 

Despite the threat of rain later in the afternoon, nearly 1000 drivers, passengers and spectators took the opportunity to admire the different entries into this year’s show.  

“All in all, the day came out well and I was very pleased with the attendance,” said Norm Philpott, Chair of the Brantford Kinsmen Car Show. “It wasn’t quite the turnout we usually get, I think we got about one half of our normal car numbers which was actually really good for the day considering that there was a possibility of rain. Overall, I was just totally impressed with everyone who came out and the sponsors and it turned out to be a great car show.”

Guests check out a decked out Cadillac during the 48th annual Kinsmen Club of Brantford Car Show and Swap Meet on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford and Jody Phillips.

With the event being known as one of Southern Ontario’s largest annual car shows, registered owners from Brantford and beyond came out to show off their colourful rides with many visitors coming out of town from Burlington, Cambridge, London and Woodstock to name a few.  

The event also featured around 44 vendors participating in the swap meet. From car parts to collectables, vintage books and more, there was plenty to browse and buy for all.

One visitor browses through some vintage auto signs during the 48th annual Kinsmen Club of Brantford Car Show and Swap Meet on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford and Jody Phillips.

Towards the end of the show, organizers presented awards in 22 categories. Philpott said that it’s never easy to pick out the winners of each category.

“Personally, I think they’re all winners. It’s too bad that we have to go around and say ‘okay, this one is the best in its own class,’ but it works out that everybody is willing to do that,” said Philpott. “Overall, I think all the cars are just fantastic, you know? You go by and people have the hood up and it’s all chrome covered, or you go to another one and it has a terrific interior. They really are all winners because without them, we wouldn’t have a show.”

Volunteers grin for the camera during the 48th annual Kinsmen Club of Brantford Car Show and Swap Meet on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Photo courtesy Kinsmen Club of Brantford and Jody Phillips.

The annual car show and swap meet has been running since 1970 after Brian Heap, a member of both the Brantford Piston Pushers and Brant Street Rods brought the show to the Kinsmen Club.

While the show started off as a three-day event held at Ontario Park on Highway 24, it eventually moved over to the Paris Fairground around 1982 as a one-day event.

The show is one of the Kinsmen’s largest fundraisers of the year, alongside the group’s annual Ribfest in August and the Brantford International Villages in July. Philpott said that the funds raised from their events go towards supporting a number of local causes.

“The car show has been a very good project for the club,” he said. “It takes a little bit of time, but it’s well worth the effort and it does raise a good amount of funds for Cystic Fibrosis, the Bellview Community Hall and other community projects as well.”

Philpott said that one of the best parts of the annual car show is the community that its built over the years.

“I know some of the car buffs have been coming out for well over 20 years to support us and it’s always great to see them,” he said. “It’s sort of like a little family that comes home for Christmas, you know? It’s like they’re all coming home once a year for our show and it’s just so nice that they come out to support us year after year.”

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