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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Car show extraordinaire planned at Stan Hywet

4/10/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Organizers are currently planning for the first Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, which will bring unique cars and motorcycles to Akron in September.
Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
WEST AKRON — There are car shows, and then there is the Concours d’Elegance.

The new event will be hosted by Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in September for what organizers said will be a weekend of celebrating the style of one-of-a-kind vintage automobiles, many with elaborate histories.

The concours will put an emphasis on automobiles from 1900 to 1942, according to Steven Cox, chairman of Stan Hywet’s Board of Directors, cars that are “rare to priceless.”

David Schultz, executive director of the event, previously served as executive director for the Glenmoor Gathering, which took place for 18 years in Jackson Township. During a recent reception to promote the new event at Stan Hywet, he said he believes the new show is a perfect fit with the atmosphere of the former F.A. Seiberling estate, located at 714 N. Portage Path.

“The key is a great location, and we’ve got the location,” he said.

Schultz said concours were begun in Europe in the 1920s and celebrated fashion, food and music in addition to beautiful vehicles.

“It was an excuse to have a good time,” he said.

After World War II, the tradition in Europe pretty much came to an end as the continent was being rebuilt. In the 1950s, a group of car enthusiasts in Pebble Beach, Calif., decided to start up a new concours, and that signaled the start of a new era for the events, Schultz said.

Today, there are a couple dozen in places such as Amelia Island, Fla., and Plymouth, Mich.

“There’s been so many that they’ve diluted the brand,” Schultz said. “We’ll be in the top tier.”

In addition to Stan Hywet’s setting, Schultz said the estate’s staff made it a good partner to work with on the event.

He added he expects to have about 160 to 165 cars and motorcycles on display. Their owners will bring them from all over the country, he said.

“You will see cars that you typically are not going to see in Northeast Ohio,” Schultz said.

The weekend of Sept. 19-21 will feature a variety of events, many meant to appeal to the out-of-town guests who will be in Akron for the show.

“This will be the chance to expose the [Stan Hywet] property to people from all over the U.S.,” Schultz said.

As plans are being made to host the event, organizers said they are seeking sponsors, exhibitors and volunteers to make the weekend a success. More information is available at www.concours.stanhywet.org or by calling Schultz at 330-315-3293.

The current schedule of events is as follows:

  • Sept. 19: Visitors can take a bus from the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, 3180 W. Market St. in Fairlawn, for a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland from noon to 5 p.m. A welcome party will take place at Stan Hywet from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 20: Automobile exhibitors are invited to drive their vehicles in the Passport Transport Countryside Tour, which will depart Stan Hywet at 8:30 a.m. A High Tea and Fashion event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A program on “Chasing Classic Cars” with Wayne Carini and Ralph Marano is scheduled from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Hilton. The day will conclude at Portage Country Club, 240 N. Portage Path in West Akron, with a cocktail party and silent auction starting at 6 p.m., followed by dinner.
  • Sept. 21: The Concours d’Elegance show will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Stan Hywet grounds. Awards will be presented at 1 p.m. Automobile-themed artwork will be on display throughout the day.

All events are open to the public with the exception of the Passport Transport Countryside Tour. Admission to the main Concours d’Elegance event Sept. 21 at Stan Hywet will cost $30 ($24 for Stan Hywet members) for adults, $13 ($10 for Stan Hywet members) for students and children ages 6-17 and free for  children 5 and younger. Tickets will go on sale June 15 at Stan Hywet, as well as at select locations in Northeast Ohio. Tickets for the other events will be on sale at a later date.

Stan Hywet Executive Director Linda Conrad said she expects the show to be an annual event.

“If everything goes as planned, it should be a staple and a signature event for many years to come,” she said, adding the annual Father’s Day Car Show also will continue.

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