Come Together

Chelsea car show requires community efforts

Garrett Princehouse, Toledo, stands with his Chevy truck at the 10th annual Chelsea Car Show Saturday, July 25. Allison Graham/News Chronicle

The good times kept rolling Saturday, July 25 as the 10th annual Chelsea Car Show provided entertainment for community members and car enthusiasts alike.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and everything in between filled the downtown area in Chelsea south of the railroad tracks for the show that ran from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Two hundred seventy three vehicles registered to compete in the show that has become a mainstay in the eastern Iowa car show community. Spectators and participants came from all directions and as far out as Geneseo, Ill.

Over the years the show has become more than just weekend entertainment for the town of Chelsea. All of the proceeds from the event including registration fees and vendor sales get funneled back into community organizations. The fire department, city library, local churches, and the Chelsea American Legion post have been among past car show benefactors. Meanwhile a robust group of local volunteers came together to put on the event, making the show a true community effort.

The organizing committee for the 2020 event consisted of: Mike Vranek and Jody VerSteegh, Dale and Julie Kasal, Clint and Kathy Werner, Lisa Murty, Gary and Kathy Fattig, Doug and Trish Stadler, Tony and Debbie Upah, and Craig and Dixie Forcht.

A group of community volunteers shortly before the awards were handed out at the 2020 Chelsea Car Show on July 25. Front row (l-r): Gary Fattig, Kathy Fattig, Alisha Franksain, Julie Kasal, Julie Fisher, Trish Stadler, Benjamin Kasal, Dale Kasal; Second row (l-r): Chelsea Mayor Craig Forcht, Jim Poduska, Becky Poduska, Terry Franksain, Polly Sokol, Judy Ver Steegh, Doug Stadler, Joe Placek; Third row (l-r): Cameron Vranek, Andrew Noe, Dan Meyer, Eli Mullen, Mike Vranek; Third row (l-r): Rob Fattig, Kevin Vranek. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

Vranek, from rural Tama, Iowa, has been a car enthusiast since he was 14 years old and has been part of the Chelsea Car Show since its inception 10 years ago. This year, he was one of the show organizers and spoke optimistically about how it turned out despite some challenges that were faced.

“It went great,” reflected Vranek. “With COVID and the heat, I felt like the show was very successful considering those things.”

Car show goers braved temperatures that hit 90 degrees by 1:00 p.m.

Despite some less than ideal conditions, the streets were still full of smiling faces and sharp looking vehicles.

24 event categories were judged at the show with one entry from Tama County taking home a judges award. Easton Creps from Chelsea, Iowa was the winner of the Best Ford Pre-1963 category with his 1932 Ford 3 Window Coupe.

Car show participants also voted for the top 75 overall entries on Saturday. Six entries from Tama County were voted into the top 75 at the Chelsea Car Show. They included: Allan Atchison (Toledo), 1965 Mercury Comet; Paul and Becca Chyma (Toledo), 1974 AMC Javelin AMX; Tom Trussell (Traer), 1955 Chevy Bel Air; Hudson Creps (Chelsea), 1951 Chevy Grain Truck; Beau Stechcon and Steph Kupka (Clutier), 1964 Caddy Fleetwood; Fred Vore (Vining), 1954 Chevy Bel Air.

A kids award category was included as a new feature to this years event. One young spectator was chosen to pick out their favorite vehicle entry and give out a trophy to that owner.

Plans for the 2021 Chelsea Car Show are already underway with a date set for July 31st.

Vranek meanwhile, is excited to be involved with the event and touts the impact it has on the community that makes it happen each year.

“The biggest thing is this show is totally for the community,” says Vranek. “Places like Chelsea don’t always have opportunities to host big events like this and we’re proud to keep it going.”