Portales hosting downtown car show

Portales residents can take a drive down memory lane Friday, courtesy of the Portales MainStreet Program and local car collectors.

MainStreet Director Sandy Van Der Veen said the community’s first National Collector Car Appreciation Day car show is set to feature at least 16 classic cars, plus food vendors and car-related information booths. She is looking for musicians willing to perform and has invited downtown businesses to stay open late that night.

“It’s something free to do on a Friday night in Portales, to bring the community together in the summer, and collector cars are just pretty cool,” Van Der Veen said.

People interested in providing music, running a booth or showing a car can call her at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. There is no charge to do any of those things.

Portales resident Don Keneipp plans to bring his 1955 red Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop to the show.

“The reason I got that one is because I had one like it in high school and car collecting is more about remembering your past than anything, to me,” he said.

Keneipp, who has been showing the car since 2003, said many people who walk past his Bel Air tell him they once had a similar one and wish they’d kept it. The old cars bring back memories for people, he said.

Desert Cruzers, one of the two car clubs Keneipp participates in, is set to meet in Clovis on Friday, and anyone who wants to participate in the Portales show will drive down to arrive late, Keneipp said. He plans to come to the show without driving to Clovis, however.

Van Der Veen said the show isn’t a contest but a fun event for the community.

Most collectors are to bring their cars to the south and west sides of the Roosevelt County Courthouse from 5-6:30 p.m., with the event opening at 7 p.m. Van Der Veen said the Farmers Market lot at Second Street and Avenue B is reserved for the car collectors’ vehicles and trailers.

Vines Italian Restaurant and Do Drop In are offering car collectors a 10 percent discount for a meal that evening, Van Der Veen said. Vendors include J-4 Barbecue, Papa Murphy’s pizza, Tasty Taters and C&S, while MainStreet is raising money by being the only group to sell sodas.

Orlando Ortega Jr. came to Van Der Veen with the idea for the car show. Ortega, a history buff and fan of classic cars himself, said he heard about National Collector Car Appreciation Day from his auto insurance company and wanted to create an event downtown.

“People get to walk around and look at automobiles of all eras from our community,” he said.