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2023 Bluffton Festival of Wheels is June 16

By Paula Scott

The 55th annual Festival of Wheels will be showcased on Bluffton’s Main Street this upcoming Friday, June 16. Coordinator Dan Groman notes that last year the Bluffton Lions Club show was literally 2 spaces from full capacity, so in 2023 the event will extend onto Elm St and along Main to Jefferson.

Main St. will close at 1:00 p.m.; registration is from 2:00-5:00 p.m. The event will be held rain or shine.

Judging of cars begins at 5:00 p.m. with trophies for the Top 25 and special awards presented at 7:30 p.m. Judges will rate entries individually, then scores will be tallied by computer. The cruise down S. Main St. begins at 8:00 p.m.

Vendors will have food and drink, including Bubba C’s barbecue, which will be located next to Town Hall.

Participants can register at the show. Advance registration ended on May 31. Groman expects more tractors than in the past, as well as a variety of antique and classic cars, trucks, fire engines and motorcycles.

This is officially the show’s 55th year, but Bluffton has a history of car shows that extends earlier than that. At one time, Bluffton car shows extended over two and half days. In 1967 Pioneer Auto Club and Contemporary Vehicle Association combined to host a national event in Bluffton. Groman remembers a woman who brought her 1941 Chevy from Sacramento, California.

Now the Festival of Wheels is one of many area car shows including the monthly Bluffton Cars and Coffee gathering that takes place on the fourth Saturday of the month, May-October, at 902 N. Main St. (Masterpiece Signs & Graphics). Participants come from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

Groman says that the current emphasis is on the muscle cars of the 1960s and ‘70s. He notes that this used to be a “purist” show, but that this has changed.

The 8:00 p.m. parade of cars will not have a police escort; drivers are requested to follow all rules of the road.

Major sponsors for the 2023 Festival of Wheels:

AAA Auto Club

Bike Crazy 

Bluffton Aeration

Bluffton Aviation 

Bluffton Comfort Inn

Bluffton Stone Company 

Bluffton Boy Scout Troop 256 

Bluffton High School Football Team

Book Reviews

Citizens National Bank

CCR, Realtors Lisa Wenger & Kelli Blackburn 

Henry's Restaurant (Ottawa)

D&J Golf Carts 

Dough Hook

KOI Auto Parts, 

Leiber's Garage

PromoHits Ltd.

Diller's Flooring & Interiors

Richard and Corrine Boehr

Shirley's Popcorn

Edward Jones - Ryan DeMarco

Et Cetera Shop

Springfield Fireworks 

Stoney's Barber Shop

Ed Reichenbach State Farm 

Family Eye Care Clinic

Edward Jones - Brandon Blackford 

Greenhorn Restaurant

Tommy Tire Sales 

U.A.W. Local 1327