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Local News

Vintage Vehicles Roll Into Santa Barbara for State Street Nationals Premier Car Show

Spectators cruise and peruse as the sun shines on the 15th annual event, which raises funds for local nonprofits as well as the Wounded Warrior Project

Spectators cruise by one of hundreds of vintage cars on display Sunday for the 15th annual State Street Nationals Premier Car Show in Santa Barbara.
Spectators cruise by one of hundreds of vintage cars on display Sunday for the 15th annual State Street Nationals Premier Car Show in Santa Barbara. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The weather couldn’t have been any better on Sunday for the 15th annual State Street Nationals Premier Car Show, allowing the sun to glint brightly off the carefully manicured bodies of an estimated 280 vintage cars.

Eleven blocks of downtown State Street in Santa Barbara were closed off for the show, allowing hundreds of spectators to walk along the road and peruse the old-timey, collectible vehicles.

Forties-era trucks, flamboyantly painted hotrods, and muscle cars were all amply represented at the show, which also tripled as a fundraiser and competition.

According to State Street Nationals, the original car show was a fundraiser for the Page Youth Center, a youth sports nonprofit. Now, in addition to the Page Youth Center, the show raises funds for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, the Goleta Lions Club and the Wounded Warrior Project.

An Elvis Presley impersonator was one of several musical acts serenading passersby at the car show.
An Elvis Presley impersonator was one of several musical acts serenading passersby at the car show. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

According to the organization, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the charities, as all of the show’s workers — from parking attendants to competitions judges — are volunteers. The show raises its money through entrance fees for the cars as well as food and retail vendors.

Ninety percent of the cars were entered into the competition, which sported 38 categories based on the class of car and judged on paint, body, engine, trunk, undercarriage and interior.

Serenading the passersby were a number of live music setups, including an oldies cover band and an Elvis Presley impersonator. Walkers could also sit inside a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter parked on one street corner.

“I just love cars. I love coming here and sharing with other people who also love cars,” said Gary Viale, sitting alongside the bright-red Mercedes Benz he inherited from his father. “To me, it’s just a great afternoon. I look forward to it every year here in Santa Barbara, to be able to bring the car in and enjoy it and meet people.”

“I drive it every week,” he said of his car. “It’s something I’ve been driving for almost 60 years, and I feel it’s a work of art as well as a piece of transportation.”

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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