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Herndon Hosts Classic Car Show

Automobiles, live music, swing dancing come to downtown.

The parking lot next to the Herndon Municipal Center is filled with classic cars Sunday, Sept. 8.

The parking lot next to the Herndon Municipal Center is filled with classic cars Sunday, Sept. 8. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Downtown Herndon went back in time by more than a half century Sunday, Sept. 8, for the 12th annual AARP Dulles Classic Car Show. Classic cars of all types from all eras were parked along downtown streets, and live music and dancing demonstrations stretched from the municipal center to the depot station.

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Swing dancers give a demonstration in front of the Herndon Municipal Center Sunday, Sept. 8.

“I had to break it to my grandson that the classic Chevy that looks like something out of a museum is the same model that was my prized possession when I was a teenager,” said Sherman Fritz of Herndon. “He looked shocked that anyone could drive one of these, let alone use it as their everyday vehicle.”

Fritz surely wasn’t the only grandparent in downtown Sunday, as the event also doubled as Herndon’s celebration of National Grandparent’s Day.

The recognition of the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent’s Day was signed into law in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter.

“We’ve come to the car show with my son, daughter-in-law and their two kids for the past five years, but last year we ended up missing the big debut game of [Washington Redskins quarterback] Robert Griffin III,” said Ben Jarmin of Reston. “I was all set to plan our outing around this year’s week one game, but we got lucky, the Redskins don’t play until tomorrow night.”

One of the biggest attractions of the day was “Vanadu,” a van that had been transformed into something out of “The Road Warrior,” covered in gray industrial metal and sporting a set of smoking chimneys.

“I used to think the scariest car to crash into would be one of those old Broncos, but this van takes the cake,” said Jordan Spurlock, 17, right after having his picture taken next to the vehicle. “It’s almost a work of art, but I would be very scared to see it in my rearview mirror while driving along the Beltway.”

The event also featured a swing dancing demonstration and a raffle, the proceeds of which went to benefit the George Mason University School of Nursing.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-70s and the crowd for the car show mixing in with the regular Sunday afternoon downtown crowd as well as the football fans heading to Jimmy’s, O’Sullivan’s and other venues,

Mayor Lisa Merkel said days like Sunday are what she envisions for the future of downtown.

“We’ve done a lot in recent months to make the downtown friendlier,” she said. “It’s great to see events like this attract people to the downtown, and hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more like this.”