Vehicles from different eras and of various builds are displayed near the intersection of Front and Main streets in Soledad during the first-ever Hot Summer Days Car Show and Street Festival on Saturday. (Sean Roney)

SOLEDAD — Thousands of spectators turned out to view an estimated 350 vehicles of various types on display last Saturday at the Soledad Hot Summer Days Car Show and Street Festival.

A portion of Front Street plus several side city blocks, from East to Main streets, were shut down to traffic to allow for the showcase of cars plus booths and activities. 

Community members were able to walk around on the streets to check out the cars and even head to Cesar Chavez Park for contests and other activities.

The July 9 event was planned as the first of a possible annual series, and was hosted by the Salinas Crusaders Car Club, in partnership with the City of Soledad.

Gustavo Pizano (left) and his family tour the cars parked on Main Street in Soledad during the July 9 event. (Sean Roney)

Soledad Police Department was the spearhead behind the formation of the event, having made initial contact and led the way as other city departments joined in to streamline the planning process.

“Jose Cisneros with the Soledad Police Department contacted us about throwing a car show in downtown Soledad and we pursued it and it turned into this,” said Guada Fabela, president of the Salinas Crusaders.

The Salinas Crusaders have organized area car shows in the past, including in Salinas. 

“When Soledad reached out, it was impressive that a police department was so engaged in their community,” Fabela said. “If every city had a police department like this one, it would be amazing.”

Community members of all ages tour the vehicles on display and the booths near Cesar Chavez Park along Front Street in Soledad during the Hot Summer Days Car Show and Street Festival last Saturday. (Sean Roney)

Fabela noted the intent from the police and other organizers was a community event where people could come out and enjoy themselves without having to spend large sums of money, especially on admission.

The resulting car show was free to the public and had a nominal entry cost for car owners. It was also open to a multitude of vehicle types.

“This wasn’t a one-genre car show; it was a diverse gathering of vehicles and car enthusiasts,” Fabela said. “We had everything from trucks to original vehicles to low riders to hotrods.”

Because of the diversity, Fabela said there were seven main categories for best of show trophies, plus numerous other trophies, since there couldn’t be one single best of show category nor one set of judging criteria. The result was vehicles needing to stand out against similar vehicles, rather than against completely different types of cars.

Lorraine Rivera and Vincent Reyes (front left) talk to members of the Salinas Crusaders about the cars on display up and down Main Street in Soledad. (Sean Roney)

“We gave out awards to the vehicles we thought were nicest,” Fabela said.

Planning took three months, starting with a group of four, Fabela explained, and that group soon enlarged to include local businesses and other groups. He credited local business F&M Auto Repair with having lined up most of the entertainment. He also highlighted Sanchez Productions with its Lucha Libre wrestling for performing for the Soledad crowds.

Talks are already underway for next year’s car show, as Fabela said the first planning discussion would take place between club members in one month.

The Salinas Crusaders were formed in 1973, and Fabela said they’ve had a history of being community oriented and open to various vehicles. In addition to car shows, members also collect funds for Alisal High School student scholarships.

Frank Routeria (from left) discusses his car, The Thing, with Jada Melgoza and Leslie Melgoza. His vehicle was a German car made in Mexico from 1973 to 1974. (Sean Roney)
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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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