Missouri News

Loafer's Car Show brings crowds to downtown Hannibal

Loafer’s Car Club members John Buckman, left, and Stephen VanHouten look over a 1932 Ford during Saturday’s 23rd annual Loafer's Car Show in downtown Hannibal, Mo. Hundreds of cars of all varieties, from vintage to modern, were on display during the event. | H-W Photo/Phil Carlson
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 12, 2018 12:01 am Updated: May. 12, 2018 11:07 pm

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Anybody who wanted to know more about the yellow 1931 Ford Model A parked along Bird Street on Saturday was in luck.

Sitting near the car was 13-year-old Madison Akers of Eolia, who often helps her father work on classic vehicles. She was keeping watch over her family's car at the Loafer's Car Show as her parents were nearby talking to friends.

"We just put together a '51 Ford pickup," Madison said.

Joe Akers, her father, proudly watched as Madison answered questions, offering an occasional bit of information. He and his family have been going to the car show for years, and they like the atmosphere.

"It's just good because there's no gender, no age, everyone's just here for the same thing," Akers said.

Brenda Akers, Madison's mom and Joe's wife, said she doesn't get too involved in restoring or repairing cars. She was happy to be at the Hannibal show, held on downtown streets near restaurants and shops.

"I've hit a few shops," she said.

All those elements -- families on outings, younger generations of car enthusiasts and downtown shopping -- were just what Loafer's Car Club member Alan Bowen, who is chairman of the show, wants to see.

"You have 300 to 400 other guys and gals that want to talk about their cars," Bowen said. "For a lot of people, this is the first big car show that they go to for the year."

It's different from many other shows because the Loafer's show has classes for everybody. The event doesn't limit the age or type of cars, and cars from 1900 to 2018 were at Saturday's show.

A Camaro IROC-Z was parked along Main Street, and several bystanders looked that way as the ultramodern car's motor came to life with a throaty growl. Not far away were classic cars from the 1930s, muscle cars from the '60s and '70s. Classic rock from the '50s through the '70s was playing on speakers to complete the effect.

Kevin Clark of Palmyra was trying to keep up with his 3-year-old son, Wyatt, in the sea of cars.

"This is my first year in Missouri. I didn't even know this was going on, but when (Wyatt) saw the cars, he wanted to look at them," Clark said.

Bowen, who has been chairman of the show for five years, said the event is growing. Now in its 23rd year, the Loafers show "floated along" with about 300 entries for years. Then in 2016, the number of participants rose to 330, and in 2017, it hit 388. Thanks to beautiful weather Saturday, he said registration was climbing close to 400.

Melvin Motley of Bowling Green has been attending the Loafers show since 1995 and has seen that growth.

"It's a good place to meet friends and people that you know and to enjoy the cars," Motley said as he sat next to his green 1933 Plymouth.

David Johnson of Hannibal brought his 1976 Datsun 280Z to the show. The car's hood was up so that people strolling by could see the straight-six engine. Originally from the Chicago area, Johnson said he bought the car in 1986 from its first owner.

"I had been begging him to sell it to me. Then one night his 16-year-old son took it for a joy ride, and he called me the next day and told me to ‘come pick up my Z,' " Johnson said.

Although the car has been easy to maintain, Johnson financed a custom paint job more than a decade ago. The baby-blue pearl car also has some ghost flames in a similar color pallet.

Tom and Becky ambassadors passed out trophies in 30 classes. The club also had a raffle with a Blue Sunco gas pump and a chair with the Snap-on tools trademark.

"It's a car guy or gal thing," Bowen said of the raffle items.

And there were plenty of people fitting that description Saturday in Hannibal.

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