Cars, Cars, Cars – Back to the 50s

The 42nd Annual Back to the 50’s car show sponsored by the Minnesota Street Rod Association took place this past weekend at the State Fair Grounds in St Paul, Minnesota. The first Back to the 50s gathering took place in 1974 with 125-150 cars. This year over 12,000 cars were expected with over 100,000 spectators. We were among them.


The State Fair Grounds is on 360 acres and is set up like an old town with city blocks and paved streets. It was hot and humid and crowded. By the end of the day we had walked five miles and seen a lot of cars.

The event runs from Thursday to Sunday and is packed with activities. At noon on Saturday there was a fly-over by the T6 Thunder North America Flight Team, all single engine AT-6’s originally used to train pilots during WWII.

On Sunday a big automobile related swap meet was in full swing. There were games for kids, a model car contests, arts & crafts, commercial vendors and auctions. One building housed the Ladies Showcase with a fashion show, makeovers, shopping, a dance team competition, baking tips and floral arrangements. Something for everybody.


On Friday and Saturday night you could stay for the musical entertainment. This year’s headliners were the Shackshakers and the Trashmen. The Trashmen started out in Minnesota in 1962 and their biggest hit was Surfin Bird. The bird bird bird the bird is a word…..

Much of the usual State Fair food was available including mini donuts, hot dog on a stick and cheese curds. We opted for lemonade and some shade.

It seemed like we saw more of the Chevrolet Bel Air’s than anything else but maybe they stood out more because they are colorful and shiny. I decided my next car should be a 1959 Thunderbird convertible in red. Fabulous!

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