Janice Whitelock and the Custom 1928 Ford truck and her 1936 Chevy truck she will have on display at the first ever ‘Classics at Tom Thomson Park’ in South River this summer. Whitelock is organizing the July 22nd event and is hoping more than 100 participants take part. The trophy Whitelock is holding is what the club awards at its weekly South River Meet N Cruise night during the summer. Submitted photoRocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative

Get ready for a very large car show this summer in the Village of South River.

Town council has given the South River Meet N Cruise club the go ahead to hold the car show at Tom Thomson Park on Saturday, July 22nd.

The club already has a name for the event calling it ‘Classics at Tom Thomson Park’.

 The car show is the result of the club holding a very successful weekly car meet in the community on Thursday evenings last summer in the parking lot of the South River Brewing Company. The Thursday get togethers took place over a 10-week time frame and were organized by Janice Whitelock to give people who live in small communities another thing to do.

The first Thursday car meet attracted 38 participants and was the result of Whitelock promoting the event on Facebook for people who were interested in showcasing their vehicles.

The second week saw 60 people show up with their vehicles and Whitelock realized there was a demand for the event.

She wasn’t wrong because by the sixth week the number of participants topped 100 and remained above 100 for the duration of the weekly meets and regularly attracted hundreds of spectators. Given the massive response to the Thursday shows, Whitelock proposed the July 22nd full day event at Tom Thomson Park in a drive to attract even more car owners and a larger crowd. The park is very big and can easily accommodate car owners and the public.

With the council giving its blessing to the summer event, Whitelock has already started the work of spreading the news through the South River Meet N Cruise Facebook page. She adds car enthusiasts who have the Canadian Cruise app will also be able to get details about the event by going to the app as the event draws closer.

Whitelock says although the event was promoted as a car show, there will also be trucks and motorcycles on display.

Whitelock is hopeful she’ll be able to attract the regular participants who are part of the Thursday meets in addition to many more owners.

The weekly event already attracts people from North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Burk’s Falls, Powassan, Trout Creek, Corbeil, Mattawa, Sundridge and South River.

South River Councillor Teri Brandt argued in favour of the upcoming car show at council and was confident it would be a big success. Brandt had seen the weekly car event last summer several times and told her council colleagues “it’s grown like crazy” and it’s a nice crowd of people. She added that the event has been good for the Village because it’s brought many outside visitors to South River. Brandt said the July 22nd event is a “fantastic idea” which may also bring a lot of people to the community.

As for the types of vehicles the public will see at the July show, Whitelock says expect owners with muscle cars to be there as well as dragsters, hot rods and classic cars in addition to the various types of motorbikes and trucks people own.

“There will be something for everybody,” she said.

Whitelock personally owns a 1928 Ford custom truck and a 1936 Chevy truck and she will have both at Tom Thomson Park.

Whitelock has been a car/truck fan for many years and has gotten to know many people who share her passion.

“What you see is amazing builds going on in small communities,” she told the Nugget.

There will be no charge to the public to see the ‘Classics at Tom Thomson Park’ show. However, Whitelock said there may be a small charge to participants to set off organizational costs depending on the number of sponsors she’s able to secure. She adds if there is a participation charge, any money leftover will be donated to a charitable group.

The summer event will have live music and she’s working on having food and business vendors on site who can showcase the community.

Whitelock says if the event turns out as large as she’s hoping “it can bring great things to the community”. Whitelock says one thing she will need from the public is volunteers especially on event day.

Students at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School in need of their 40 hours of community work as well as adults can contact Whitelock online at 32.3.windowcoup@live.ca or call her at 705-477-1113 to volunteer.

In anticipation of drawing a large crowd to Tom Thomson Park, the municipality will provide two porta potties.

As for the weekly car show, Whitelock is so confident it will continue to grow that she’s turned the event into a 17 week season for 2023.

By Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative

Original Published on Apr 11, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   North Bay Nugget   North Bay, Ontario
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