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HUGE CAR SHOW Pumpkin Fest draws crowd in Lake Park

With sunny skies and warm temperatures, this weekend's Pumpkin Fest celebration drew hundreds of people to Lake Park on Saturday.

Besides the afternoon parade, there were a plethora of pumpkin-oriented contests, including pumpkin carving and cleaning, pie eating and even a contest to guess the weight of a giant specimen.

But one of the biggest attractions of the day had nothing to do with pumpkins at all.

The Classic Car Show, sponsored by Curt's Rod & Custom of rural Lake Park, spilled over from its original Lake Street location to fill several downtown side streets as well.

The 11th annual car show drew a record number of entries, according to organizer Curt Hogenson.

"It's been growing every year," he said. "This Saturday, we had 204 entries. Last year, it was 130 (total entries), so we had a real boost.

"It was a beautiful day, when people like to get their cars out, and apparently there wasn't much else going on, so they came to Lake Park," Hogenson added.

The show drew every type of vehicle imaginable, from Model A's and T's to Corvette Stingrays, Mustangs and Camaros.

"We had a lot of older cars, both restored and unrestored, street rods, muscle cars -- we even had a couple of old motorcycles in there, one of them from World War II."

One of the more memorable entries was a 1944 convertible street rod.

"You don't see a lot of 1944 convertibles around," Hogenson noted.

Unlike many area car shows, there were no trophies or "best of" prizes awarded on Saturday -- just prize drawings for the participants, and a dash plaque for the owner of each vehicle to take home as a souvenir.

"I decided years ago when I started this that it wasn't going to be a competition -- it was going to be more of a social event for car guys," Hogenson explained.

There was also no pre-registration or entry fee required, which was probably one reason for the show's popularity.

Some of the car owners even traveled quite a distance to participate in the show.

"I think the car that came the farthest was from Pembina, N.D., near the Canadian border," he said. "We also had one from a small town south of Willmar."

There were no restrictions regarding the type of vehicles to be entered, or the distance traveled to be a part of the show.

The only real requirement was that each entry should be "a car of interest" -- i.e., not something that could be viewed at a car dealership on any given day.

"There was nothing real new -- I think the (newest) one there was from the 1970s," Hogenson said. "It just has to be something that you don't see on the street every day."

Becker County Commissioner Barry Nelson said "it was a perfect day for Pumpkin Fest. My wife and kids were at the parade ... it's amazing to me the number of people that can come to town for something like that."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454