November '20

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NOVEMBER 2020 THE SHOP 79 "This year's lessons," he says, "are to con- tinue on with events, but to diversify them more for a family-friendly atmosphere, and also to relate more to what people want to see at an event." SYMCO ROD & KUSTOM WEEKENDER John Gunnell, a Wisconsin-based con- tributor to THE SHOP, was badly missing car shows this year until he got a chance to attend the Symco Rod & Kustom Week- ender in early August. Thousands of tra- ditional hot-rodders traveled to the event, he says, and everyone seemed anxious for any type of show. "Symco is the name of a small, unincor- porated town in the center of Wisconsin," Gunnell writes in his show report. "The 2020 event had the distinction of being the largest non-racing car event held in Wisconsin all summer. The promoters encouraged attendees to follow COVID-19 guidelines put forth by the Center for Dis- ease Control (CDC) and posted a link to the guidelines on their website. They also provided hand sanitizer for visitors to use, set up handwashing stations throughout the grounds and wrapped picnic tables and benches with plastic." The show transported Gunnell back to the 1950s and '60s with its lifestyle attractions such as a large vintage camper campground, pin-up girl clothing for sale, throwback beauty contests, mini-bike drag races and parades, classic bicycles, barbers giving ducktail haircuts and rockabilly band performances. "Symco features some of the best old- school hot rods and customized cars in the Badger State and from throughout the Midwest, although other types of vehicles are also allowed entry," Gunnell says. "All cars must be from earlier than 1975, but the focus is on pre-1965 traditional hot rods and customs with two or more modi- fications, or pre-1961 stock vehicles. All motorcycles must be pre-1970." A swap meet with auto parts and nos- talgia items is also part of the show, and the Symco vendors sell things not often seen at other swaps, such as balloon-style bicycle tires and pinstriping services. "Part of the Symco excitement is Union- ville—the old-fashioned village where the show is held," Gunnell adds. "It was put together years ago by members of a tractor collecting club called The Union Threshermen. Some of their steam-pow- The Symco Rod & Kustom Weekender went ahead as planned in early August in Wisconsin. (Photo by John Gunnell)

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