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Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival is back and firing on all cylinders

A specialized motor at the annual Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival.
A specialized motor at the annual Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival, which returns for its 27th year as in-person event on Sunday at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.
(Courtesy of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center)

The Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival is the oldest and longest running car show in north Orange County, and like most events, it’s not the same on Zoom.

The festival switched to a virtual format in 2020 due to COVID-19, but this year returns as an in-person event on Sunday at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.

“There’s nothing else in this region that compares,” said Muck chief executive officer Farrell Hirsch.

Rare and classic vehicles, like hot rods and customs, vintage motorcycles and vintage travel trailers will be on display on the center’s 8-acre lawn from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Century-old cars at the Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival.
(Courtesy of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center)

Car owners apply to join the show, and judges look for vehicles that demonstrate originality and authenticity while valuing design. Hot Rod classes include best paint, best engine, best interior, best open car, best closed car, best truck, best motorcycle, best chrome, most unusual vehicle, the Muck Award and best of show.

Concourse classes include vintage 1915-1924, American auto 1925-1948, European auto 1925-1948, American auto post-war 1949-1975, European auto post-war 1949-1975, European and Asian sports cars to 1975, American sports cars to 1975, special interest and travel trailers.

Besides the classic rides, the event will also feature specialty foods from Cary Farnsworth and his Vintage Ice Cream Bicycle and Heroes Bar & Grill.

Attendees will also find handcrafted artisan beer and live music from Janet Klein and the Parlor Boys to help set the retro mood.

First held in 1994, the Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival began as a charity fundraiser for the Muck Foundation, which provides arts and education programs for children.

Today, the city of Fullerton maintains ownership of the property, and it is managed by the Muckenthaler Cultural Center Foundation and its elected board of directors.

Proceeds from the festival, the premier fundraiser of the year for the center and a community tradition, support children’s arts programs at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.

A souped-up Volkswagen van at the Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival.
(Courtesy of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center)

“This is the 27th year in an unbroken string of presenting the finest automobiles in both the Concourse and Hot Rod categories,” Hirsch said. “I don’t believe there’s another annual car show in the state that can say they haven’t missed an event in that time. I imagine it’s that spirit in the face of obstacles, that perseverance through municipal bankruptcies, disruptive weather events and cataclysmic plagues that has endeared us to the community.”

General admission to the Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival is $5. More information can be found at muckcarshow.org.

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