Clifton Car Show on Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012

Clifton Car Show on Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012

Clifton’s Mike Nelson and daughters, from left, Lindsey, 9, and Lauren, 13, inspect a 1970 Ford Mach 1 Mustang during the 2011 car show.

Clifton’s Mike Nelson and daughters, from left, Lindsey, 9, and Lauren, 13, inspect a 1970 Ford Mach 1 Mustang during the 2011 car show. Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.

Featuring street rods, custom and antique cars, muscle and classic cars, and motorcycles, the 13th Annual Labor Day Car Show is Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., in Clifton. Sponsored by the Clifton Lions Club and the Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia, it happens rain or shine.

“It’s the only show of its type within 100 miles of here on Labor Day,” said event organizer Jim Chesley. “Our show has gotten such a good reputation that people don’t want to go anywhere else but here.”


Vehicles are parked all along Main Street during the annual Labor Day car show in Clifton.

More than 400 vehicles will be on display throughout the town, with chrome all polished, hoods up and engines open for easy viewing. Visitors may browse at their leisure, while chatting with their owners and listening to 1950s and ‘60s music played by a deejay from J & J Sound.

“We’ll have lots of Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros and hot rods,” said Chesley. “There’ll be all kinds of motorcycles, cars and trucks--stock, custom and antique.”

To register a vehicle, go to, click on “events” and download an entry form. Participants may also register at the show. The first 250 vehicles registering will receive dash plaques. Registration is $15, or $25 if the vehicle is for sale. Individuals or companies interested in being sponsors should contact Chesley at 703-830-2129 or for further details.

Donations in any amount are also welcome and are 100-percent tax deductible. Mail donation checks payable to the Clifton Lions Club to: Jim Chesley, 7207 Main St., Clifton, VA 20124-0225. There’ll also be a donations jar at the show.


A horse and member of the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program visit children at Life with Cancer. Among those pictured are children currently battling cancer, survivors and family members.

Each year, the proceeds go to charity, and this year’s recipients are Life with Cancer and the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. Life with Cancer offers a full slate of support programs for cancer patients and their families. And the Therapeutic Riding Program gives people with emotional or physical disabilities the chance to control a horse and feel confident and successful. For more information, go to and

“Four years ago, I introduced the directors of these two charities to each other at the car show,” said Chesley. “They didn’t know of each other then, but because of that meeting, Life with Cancer started sending children in their program to the Therapeutic Riding Center in Clifton.”

The car-show festivities will also include the Richard King Annual Fireman's Chili Challenge, from noon-6 p.m. It will be held in a field by the railroad tracks, near the town barn. It’s in memory of King, a longtime Clifton resident.

Putting on the Chili Challenge is the Wednesday Night Crew Motorcycle Assosication “We’ll have a cookoff between Fairfax County fire stations,” said the organization’s Rusty Hall, of Fairfax. “Ten firefighters will be competing from all over the county. The winning fire station will get a trophy and $1,000 to contribute to MDA [the Muscular Dystrophy Assn.]--which the firefighters raise money for over Labor Day weekend.” To volunteer to help, e-mail

“Richard King was a member of our group,” said Hall. “We’ve been involved in the car show for six or seven years and we love giving back to the community to enhance it. This is a diverse community, and it’s good seeing everybody come to this show with their families and relax and have a good time.”

There’ll also be music at the Chili Challenge. Performing on stage is Steal the Deal, playing Southern rock; the Wes Thacker Bluegrass Band; Jammboxx, rock and roll; and the Lost Highway Band, playing Swamp Boogie music and featuring 2010 Grammy-award winner Michael Melchione.

Besides chili, lots of other food will be available. The Lions Club will offer hot dogs, hamburgers, pork and beef barbecue, chips, water and soda. The Clifton Presbyterian Church will be selling meatball subs, and the Clifton Café (crepes), Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot and The Clifton Store will all be open for business.


Tammy McClanahan of Clifton and her father, Roger, stand beside his 1975 red Corvette.

There’ll be a 50-50 raffle at the show, with half the money going to the charities and half to the winner. In addition, the Rolling Thunder motorcycle--a Harley Davidson--will be displayed and raffled off. Tickets will be sold at the show, but the winner will be chosen at a later date because the motorcycle will be displayed at other shows.

At noon will be the raising of the flag by the Fairfax County Police Honor Guard, in Ayre Square, and the singing of the national anthem. And sometime during the show, if possible, will be a flyover by the police helicopter.

Dignitaries at the noon ceremony will include Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th), Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, county Police Chief Dave Rohrer and Lt. John Trace, assistant commander of the Sully District Police Station. The awards ceremony is at 2:30 p.m., and helping Chesley hand out the trophies will be Sen. George Barker (D-39th), Del. Tim Hugo (R-40th) and Supervisor Pat Herrity (R- Springfield).

Two trophies are awarded for Best in Show and one each for Lady’s Choice, Lions’ Choice, Best Back Seat and Best Motorcycle. The top 20 vehicles, as chosen by the participants, will also receive trophies.


Fairfax resident Larry Brooks, of the Brothers’ Rods Car Club, proudly displays his 1941 Willis Ford.

The show attracts people from all over the Washington Metropolitan area, and more than 3,000 people attended last year’s event. Admission is free to spectators. There’s a nominal parking fee, and vans from Virginia Tire and Auto of Centreville will transport people from the parking lots to the town.

“If the weather is good, I expect to have some of the best vehicles from North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey,” said Chesley. “People like the set up, the small-town atmosphere and everything we’ve got to offer. They also like that the show’s open to all kinds of quality vehicles.”

He said attendees will see the best of all classes of cars while having an enjoyable time. “We’ll have plenty of food, they can listen to good bands--and all the proceeds go to two, wonderful local charities,” said Chesley. “It’ll be a full day of fun in the country.”