Downtown car show parked just around corner

HARLINGEN — As it motors into its second decade, the 11th Annual Downtown Jackson Street Car Show again looks to power past the number 200 when it comes to display vehicles as well as add to the thousands of people who attend the event.

The show is organized by the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Moses Mendoza, president of the Valley chapter, says despite the challenges he’s hoping for more than 200 cars and trucks this year, too.

“My goal is to sustain the 200,” he said in a recent interview. “Once we start going over 200, I’ve got to put them in corners and I love doing that — it’s a challenge.”

This year’s show will be Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on closed-down Jackson Street in the city’s historic district.

“We close the whole area for them to showcase the cars, and the participants they like it because they have a place where their cars can be and people do respect the cars,” said Edward Meza, downtown manager. “They don’t have to worry about any cars hitting them because it’s closed to traffic. It’s just a nice vibe downtown.”

The Jackson Street show offers a kaleidoscope of vibrant classics, antiques, imports, exotics, low riders and street and rat rods.

For many of those who attend, it’s an opportunity to stir up recollections of time passed, and see those memories reflected back in the glossy paint jobs of 1960s-era Chevys, Dodges and Fords.

“Last year was our 10th year and I still can’t get over that,” Mendoza said.

“I’ve learned that our younger generation has grown up very fast, and when we have car shows like this that have a younger generation coming in to look at these cars, hopefully it will put a little thought in their minds, a little dream — ‘I want one of these cars,’” he added.

For the city’s downtown district, the car show is a major event, like Halloween, the Christmas Stroll, Art Night and Market Days, Meza said.

Each of them — he stresses this as being important — bring in a different group of people to visit a downtown district many have found easy to ignore.

“As it gets bigger, it brings more exposure to downtown,” Meza said. “It brings newer people to downtown who haven’t been here before, and it attracts a different clientele to downtown, and they come and they appreciate what they see.

“People arrive and look around and say, ‘I didn’t know this was here,’” Meza added.

For his part, Mendoza said he and his club members are putting the finishing organizational touches on this year’s car show and still managing to keep their sense of purpose intact.

“As long as I keep my sense of humor and fun, in the end it’s all about the family and just bringing everybody together to have a great time,” he said. “But with just six weeks to go, this is where the rubber meets the road.”

The Downtown Improvement District board voted in March to approve $2,500 for the auto club.


WHAT: 11th Annual Downtown Jackson Street Car Show

WHERE: Downtown Harlingen

WHEN: April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

ON SHOW: More than 200 classic, modified, antique, muscle, import, exotic, low rider, street rod, rat rod, cars and trucks, music

COST: Free