By Mike Fletcher Kokomo Tribune
---- — More than 40 cars — old and new — cruised down old Pumpkinvine Pike Thursday afternoon, just as Elwood Haynes did 119 years ago.
The historic drive officially kicked off the 2013 Haynes Apperson Festival.
The road, now known as East Boulevard, is the same path Elwood Haynes took July 4, 1894, in his first automobile.
Dale Etherington took the historic drive fittingly in his 1921 Haynes.
“I’ve been a member of the Pioneer Auto Club since 1955 and always wanted one,” Etherington said of owning a Haynes automobile.
“I use more water than I do gas,” he joked, as liquid from his water pump leaked onto the ground.
Besides the leaky pump, Etherington said, “It runs beautiful. I had two of them and sold one. It will be a slow drive, about 15 miles per hour. I have to drive it in high gear.”
Cars and their owners first gathered in the parking lot of Hope Community Church, at the corner of Goyer Road and Boulevard, where a monument to Elwood Haynes is located. It commemorates Elwood Haynes’ first test drive of an American automobile on July 4, 1894.
The group of cars, including a 1957 Thunderbird, a 1959 Corvette, several old Ford Model Ts and a host of other memorable cars, then cruised down Boulevard to Webster Street, past the Elwood Haynes Museum on their way to downtown’s Foster Park.
Car enthusiast Ralph Colter drove his 1940 Buick, as he has in years past.
“This is great,” he said of the commemorative cruise.
“It’s basically all original,” Colter said of the shiny, black four-door. “I’ve had this car all over the country. It’s part of the family.”
Parked behind Colter’s Buick was a 1963 white convertible Chevy Impala Super Sport, driven by Roger Glassburn.
“I bought it in 1982 and worked on it for more than 20 years,” said Glassburn of his Chevy. “Everything was in pieces all over my garage. I enjoy driving it in these events, especially on the Fourth of July.”
David Johnson made the historic drive in a lavender 1939 Chevy, owned by Rick Dennis.
“Rick said if I put gas in it, I can drive it,” said Johnson. “I couldn’t refuse that.”
Dennis also lended Gale Hendricks his 1941 Chevy to ride in the kick-off event.
“Being the vice president of the Rusty Nuts Auto Club, this means a lot,” said Hendricks.
Once at Foster Park, the cars were on display for festival-goers to check out. The Haynes Apperson Festival continues through the weekend and concludes Saturday with a parade and fireworks display.
If you go: Highlights of today's events at the Haynes Apperson Festival: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Car show in Foster Park , awards presented at 8 p.m. 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Shiny Penny concert 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Here come the Mummies concert