Every year the Harbor Springs Car Festival has something unique, and this year is no exception. The Festival is set for Thursday, Aug. 14 beginning at 5:30 pm in Zorn Park.
A car corral or "Rat's Nest" that is dedicated to Rat Rods will be located in the section of the park that borders the beach where the cannon is located. Not only will this provide more needed space for the show, it will also highlight a special type of car.
Rat Rods are a fairly new phenomenon in the custom car scene. Often people assume that a Rat Rod is just another name for the traditional hot rod, but there is a difference. Rat Rods are really folk art on wheels. They express the creativity and vision of an artist's ability to take disparate parts from many sources including non-automotive components and create a moving sculpture. In contrast a hot rod is typically a 1930's era car that has been reworked by lowering the chassis and possibly the roofline, refitting it with a small block Chevy engine and given a show class paint job.
Typically if you see a car or truck that is tastefully covered with rust, probably very low to the ground and is constructed with bits and pieces of old trucks, cars, refrigerators and such you are probably looking at a Rat Rod. There is an emerging cottage industry catering to this hobby. Special paint and chemicals are being developed that allow artists to finish metal in "rust" so that it looks like it has been sitting in the Arizona sun for 80 years. The technique of painting faded graphics and lettering is also a by-product of the movement. As with other segments of the car hobby, clubs are being formed specifically for Rat Rod owners. This year at the Detroit Autorama car show an entire floor showcased the creativity of some of these artists.
There are several artists in the Harbor Springs area that have become masters at this craft. The demand for Rat Rods has increased to the point that unless you can find one for sale you will have to get in line and wait a while to have one built for you.
If you have a Rat Rod bring it to the Harbor Springs Car Festival. It will be held on Thursday, August 14th starting at 5:30 PM and last till dusk. Zorn Park is located at the north end of Main Street in the center of Harbor Springs and there will be attendants on site to direct you to the "Rats Nest". There is no pre-registration, no charge and no judging. A dash plaque and event poster will be given to each entrant, however there is a limited supply so first come first serve.
For more information contact the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce at 231-526-7999 or www.harborspringschamber.com.