In addition to being one of the most picturesque regions for tourism in the world, southern Utah has a strong car-collector scene. The city of Hurricane, located in Washington County, is home to about 20,000 residents and is proud of its location at the doorstep to some of the region’s attractions like Zion National Park.
However, Hurricane (a town aptly named for its frequent wind) has a lot more to offer than just landscapes: Each spring on Easter weekend, collector cars assemble on the grounds of the Community Center for a day of fun, entertainment, concessions, awards, and most importantly – charity fundraising.
Organized by the Hurricane Valley Rotary Club (HVRC), the annual Easter Car Show has been a regional favorite for over 30 years. This year’s event was held on Saturday, April 8. Tia and Todd Astle from Washington, about 15 miles away, attended the event, just as they have done for the last several years. Todd said that his favorite car in attendance was a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with a big-block engine and tan leather interior. “The metallic Candy Apple Red paint was incredible,” Todd said, “One of the best paint jobs I have ever seen.”
I connected with Wade Beatty of the HVRC for a few questions. He indicated that the proceeds from the $35 vehicle registration are used primarily to give back to participants in the form of souvenir items. However, full proceeds from the $5 entry fee for each spectator go toward community service projects, and one of these projects is the construction of the Rotary Club’s “All-Abilities Playground” at Dixie Springs Park. This park is now nearing completion with final phases expected to be fulfilled by summer 2023.
Speaking of sponsorship: A headlining contributor to this year’s show was Matt’s Off-Road Recovery. From Matt’s website, “We do off-road towing, recoveries, and rescues. We cover beautiful southern Utah, near Zion National Park.” Matt and his crew have gained notoriety in YouTube with their channel showing nearly 600 videos to about 1.5 million subscribers.
Among this year’s exhibitors was Eric Martin, who showcased his blue 1961 Chevrolet Impala bubble-top. He said, “I have changed all the running gear. It’s got a modern LS with all the big brakes and suspension, so it looks classic but drives like a modern car.” Regarding the car show, he added, “The people are great! There are a lot of good-looking cars. Everybody is passionate here.”
Wade Beatty concluded, “We had over 300 cars and over 60 vendors with an estimated 10,000 people enjoyed the car show. It was a success for the charities of southern Utah.”
Tia Astle had similar remarks about the volume of attendees, “This year, due to the perfect weather (which is always a draw from the northern Utah folks) or just an influx of people who have moved into the Washington County area, I felt like the show was bursting at the seams with cars, people, and food trucks.” But that didn’t stop her from waiting in line for a hot dog from The Dawg House to satisfy her lunch cravings.
Building on the success of over three decades’ worth of Easter shows, southern Utah will undoubtedly continue to enjoy this jewel of community involvement in the years to come. To learn more about the Easter Car Show and get involved with future events, check out the event website.