Classic cars part of city's festivities

No, Todd Olympius didn't survive a hair-raising encounter with a person willing to kill for an ice cream.

Even if that's what an observer might guess from looking at his truck.

Olympius, a Costa Mesa resident who will join in the Classic Car Show during the city's 60th anniversary celebration, bought a 1955 Chevrolet three years ago with the intent of converting it to the kind of vehicle he waited for at the curb as a boy. The truck had gone through a few uses before he bought it: delivery for a bakery, advertising for a construction company, ambulance in Platte County, Neb.

Sometime during that third incarnation, the vehicle took on a mark that its new owner decided to keep.

"It had a bullet hole in one of the windows," Olympius said. "My wife said, 'You've got to fix that!' I said, 'No, it's part of the history.'"

As Costa Mesa celebrates its own history, plenty of automotive remnants from the past will be on hand as well. Olympius' ice-cream truck, cracked glass and all, will join other vehicles from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Civic Center parking lot.

While music acts like Wanda Jackson, Berlin and Eric Burdon and the Animals dominate the celebration's press materials, the organizers have set up plenty of other diversions as well. During the festival's regular hours, a street fair will feature art and children's activities, while more than a dozen local restaurants will offer meals as part of the OC Tastefest.

Why all the festivities for the city's 60th anniversary? That number may not be as traditional a milestone as the quarter-century mark, but spokesman William Lobdell said Costa Mesa leaders were in the mood to party after the city's 50th-anniversary festival.

"Part of the thinking was, the next big one would be 75," he said. "We had a nice celebration for the 50th, and 25 years is probably too long to wait for another nice celebration."

In the art walk, about a dozen artists — representing Save Our Youth, Rock Harbor, Orange Coast College and other groups — will create works on 48-by-48-inch wooden panels in front of visitors. The paintings will go on sale July 30 at the SoBeCa district on Bristol Street, with part of the proceeds benefiting youth art programs, according to city recreation supervisor Lisa McPherson.

Joining in the OC Tastefest are ARC, Bubba Sweets, Burrissimo, Chakra Cuisine, Gourmet Blends, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Lola's Ice Cream, Memphis Café, Port Restaurant and Bar, Portola Coffee/Seventh Tea Bar, Taco Maria, Wild Goose Tavern and Miguel's Jr.

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