By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier
ST. ALBANS: The Kingman Street Klassic began in 2009, thanks to the inspiration of Jim Letourneau and the dedication of Kate Manahan. This year, the event will celebrate its tenth anniversary, marking a decade of classic cars rolling into downtown St. Albans for the public to admire.
“Jim was a fellow car friend of mine. He came to tell me he had a brain tumor and as we spoke, he said he had always wanted to see a car show made up of his friends on Kingman Street,” Kate Manahan explained.
Kate took the idea and ran with it, confident that she’d find help in fulfilling her friend’s wish.
“Sometimes you just know that all you have to do is ask,” said Kate. “So, I went to the mayor, Marty Manahan.”
Marty didn’t hesitate. He told Kate he’d oversee the closing of Kingman Street for the car show.
In classic Franklin County style, others jumped in to help.
“The Peoples Trust Company threw in their parking lots, and we were on our way,” said Kate.
The event was scheduled to take place in July, leaving just six weeks to put the plan into motion.
The first year they only gave out four trophies, but the details weren’t as important as granting Jim his wish.
“Jim was able to attend that first show, and it was great! We lost Jim shortly after the show, and we lost Rick Manahan from the bank the same year. But we knew it had to continue.”
The following year Kate spoke with another person who she knew would help her keep the ‘show on the road.’
“Tim Smith, a fellow classmate of 1978, told me he wanted one major event in St. Albans each month, and he wanted the car show to be July’s major event.”
The news that the Kingman Street Klassic would be made a staple in the yearly calendar of events in St. Albans was more than Kate had hoped for.
“What a great honor to be able to throw a party in my hometown to raise money for local charities!” said Kate with a smile. “And to be able to bring together some of the best cars in St. Albans and the surrounding areas was great.”
The Kingman Street Klassic got an upgrade for the 2019 year. With proposed renovations on Kingman Street, the show venue was changed.
“This is year 10, and what a great ride it has been!” said Kate.
“This year the show will take place on Main Street.”
The Kingman Street Klassic crew teamed up with the Northwest Farmers’ Market to plan a day of fun activities to accompany the car show.
“What an honor to see the show move to Main Street! We will be showcasing antique and classic cars on Main Street and in Taylor Park this year,” explained Kate. “I am very excited to have the Farmers’ Market share their space with us. It has been a great partnership.”
With the change of venue came a change of name. This year the show has been renamed The Klassic.
Kate extended thanks to those who have been part of making the show a success for so many years.
“Tim Smith and Tim Hawkins from the City have been huge supporters of the show. I can’t thank them enough for all they do,” said Kate. “I get the ideas, and they help me make them come true.”
Kate also thanked Liz Gamache and Alan Robtoy for their help and support.
The show wouldn’t be possible without the help of many supporters and volunteers, and Kate recognized the Franklin County area for their help.
“It is a community event; we need people to enter their vehicles in the show, and we need people to come to enjoy it. We appreciate that businesses in our community want to sponsor us so we can provide a day of fun for our community.”
Kate noted that local businesses have stepped up each year to give raffle prizes and donations that help raise money for the charity chosen to be supported by the show.
“I would love to thank the businesses that have been supporting The Klassic; your kindness has not gone unnoticed, and without you, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
An event the size of The Klassic needs plenty of volunteers, and thanks to the generous members of The Klassic staff, there are always enough hands to get the job done.
“The volunteers who give up a Saturday to work in the hot sun do the hard work. I can plan the show, but without the volunteers to pull it off, it would never get accomplished.”
Kate, who’s on her tenth year with the show, knows she’s always got someone who will lend a hand.
“I love how I can come up with ideas, hand my volunteers the stuff, let them improvise, and they make it work. This show has some of the best volunteers, and many of them have been with us for years; they are the backbone of the event. I could not do it without the help of many of my friends, old and new.”
Watching The Klassic grow each year has meant a lot to Kate. As a lover of classic cars and one who knows the value of a close community, the show brings the best of both worlds together in the heart of the summer.
“I am very excited to see all the great cars lining Main Street in my hometown, and the Ladies can’t wait to see the cars and give their award.”
The Klassic will take place on Saturday, July 20th from 10am-2pm. All ages are welcome to come and enjoy the day’s activities.
The festivities will begin with Kathleen Hoffman singing the National Anthem, raffle drawings (10-1), a visit from Rail City Spidey (11:30), a performance by Electric Youth Dance (11:30), and a Time Capsule Dedication with ice cream (noon). DJ Brian Fredette and artists from Artist in Residence will also be present.
There will be t-shirts for sale, plenty of food, games, and 43 awards to give to show entries.
Those wishing to register a car can do so for $20. Anyone who registers a car and brings a canned food item for the Food Shelf will receive $5 off the registration fee.
Proceeds from The Klassic will go to the St.Albans Fire Association.
“Our first responders are always here for their community. I believe that in today’s world we can always make our first responders safer. Why not provide funds that are designed for just that?” said Kate.
After a decade of shows, Kate’s vision hasn’t changed.
“In the end, it’s about having a community event that is exciting and fun and brings people into downtown St. Albans to view the cars, visit The Ladies, shop, eat, and see all we have to offer as a community that works together to make memories.”