Roar in the Park classic car show continues to build

TRENTON — Southeast Michigan’s relationship with the automobile has made it a haven for classic car enthusiasts and some of the best vehicle showcases in the country, local officials say, ranging from one-day mobile events such as Cruisin’ Downriver to the permanent display of vintage cars and trucks at The Henry Ford in Dearborn.

Now in its seventh year, the Roar in the Park classic car show has been forming a tradition of its own, drawing some of the region’s best antiques and classics to Elizabeth Park one day each summer as part of an event first devised to round out the activities during an annual weekend of power boat racing.

According to one of the key organizers, the event has turned into a perfect fit for the PNC Roar on the River weekend, scheduled for July 23 through 25.

“You can’t beat the location of the car show,” said Bruce Diven, who coordinates the show on the behalf of the Trenton Rotary Club. “You can come display your car, go to the boat races and see the fireworks. You can sit right next to the Detroit River, and just enjoy a relaxing day at Elizabeth Park.”

When the car show first joined the Roar in 2004, it originally was a Saturday event. When the Roar on the River’s evening entertainment format was expanded in 2008, the car show was moved to Sunday in order to free up more parking space on Saturday. The switch also ensured that the car show had all the space it needed in the main field area directly across the street from the spectator entrance to the Roar.

The move turned out to be good for the car show as well, since its winners now are announced at 4 p.m. Sunday, just prior to the riverfront ceremony where the winning boat racers receive their trophies.

The award ceremonies will mark the culmination of a weekend that could see upward of 30,000 people visit Elizabeth Park for power boat racing, outdoor concerts, fireworks, a children’s fun fair, Jet Ski stunt shows and a taste-fest-style kickoff party that will feature the food of 42 restaurants and caterers.

Roar in the Park runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Car owners can begin registering for the event beginning at 8 a.m. The cost is $20.

For additional information on the Roar in the Park or any of the other PNC Roar on the River activities, go to