Street Rods to fill fairgrounds this summer


The Ohio River Street Rodders are revving up for their popular cruise-in events that will attract thousands to the Scioto County Fairgrounds this summer and Vice President Bill Mullins says he expects another successful year of hot rods and enthusiasts.

Mullins has witnessed thousands of impressive cars since working with the Ohio River Street Rodders going all the way back to 1980.

“I joined in 1980 and the group was started in ‘76. I was always a car hobbyist, and the group is a fun volunteer thing that allows me to meet new people,” Mullins said. “We get people from Columbus and West Virginia and just about everywhere; we’re well known.”

Mullins explained that the partnership with the Scioto County Fairgrounds is a good one for both groups and it allows them to plan extra events.

“We are out at the fairgrounds and have a summer of events planned, as well as a few burn outs and specialty features,” Mullins said. “Our goal is to showcase the cars while making a little money for the fairgrounds. They’re not charging us anything and we don’t charge admission, but we have our sponsors, and the fairgrounds do what they can to make money. It is a good partnership for us both.”

Participants with showcase cars are automatically entered into door prizes valued at $3,000, guests can participate in a 50/50 split the pot, the fairgrounds board will have a swap meet, and more at every cruise-in.

Participants can bring their car and register onsite. There is no fee.

“Eventually, we’re wanting to bring in inflatables for kids, have a truck tug of war, and more in the future. Nothing is set in stone, but we’re exploring options to attract even more people,” Mullins claimed. “The cruise-in will attract a certain type, the events like the burn outs will attract a certain type, and the swap meet will bring out a certain type; we think there will be plenty of things for people to do and enjoy. We just want to build this thing up so the fairgrounds are used.”

Mullins said the event was once held at Wheelersburg McDonalds, where they frequently had as many as 600 cars. He speculates two people attend with each car, plus spectators visit, which makes for a large event.

“When we get going, it looks like the fair is going on, because we bring out that many people,” Mullins said.

The event left McDonalds and moved to New Boston for a moment, before moving to the fairgrounds last year, where it is returning to its massive roots.

“When we held it last year, we averaged as much as we did at Wheelersburg McDonalds,” Mullins explained. “We tried holding them at Vinyl Kraft in New Boston for two years, but we lost a lot of our long-distance people, because they’d rather go to their local cruise-ins. We are starting to get those long-distance people back, though, and we are seeing people north of Columbus traveling to stay overnight in Rosemount and showcasing their cars at the fairgrounds.”

Mullins said the plan is to grow to 800-1,000 cars.

“We’re not making any money off it, but the fairgrounds don’t charge us for the event, so the goal is to grow with them and find opportunities for them to make money and keep the fairgrounds looking nice and in operation,” Mullins explained. “Everybody is just walking around looking at cars, eating, and getting to spend time with other car people. It is a good time and family-oriented thing.”

Popularity for the event is growing, even with sponsors for the event. Mullins said the cruise-ins once brought in 300 in sponsorship dollars a month, but they are now selling seasonal sponsors for $1,000 and multiple $300 sponsors each month. This allows the group to give out door prizes to participants. It also gives exposure to the businesses, because they get onsite signage, t-shirts, and more.

The cruise-ins are the final Saturday of the Month May, June, July, August, and September and October 14 at the Scioto County Fairgrounds.

Swap meet vendors can contact Brian Gahm at 740.357.5555, of the Scioto County Fairgrounds Board.

For more information on the Ohio River Street Rodders, and their events, visit them on Facebook.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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