Mo Nelson may not have brought his soon-to-be open pizza restaurant, Mohio Pizza Co., to 23 N. Sandusky St. if not for the “Blast from the Past” car show in downtown Delaware.
After a plan to open the business in Powell fell through, Nelson and his wife visited the car show two years ago.
“That car show brought us down,” he told The Gazette earlier this month.
Such comments have made the decision to discontinue the show hard, said Jim Clements, chairman of the event. Sponsored by the Vintage Auto Club of Delaware, the car show wrapped up its 23rd year in July, featuring more than 650 vintage vehicles for attendees from as far as Michigan, West Virginia and Florida.
“It was very hard for us to make that decision,” he said.
Due to an aging membership, a committee formed within the club decided that it was time to discontinue the show. Membership has been consistent at about 50 members throughout the years with 25 to 30 percent of them active — but not enough to meet the level of expectations from attendants, Clements said.
“The show has grown bigger than the club,” Clements said. “We didn’t want the quality of the show to deteriorate.”
The organization was founded in 1984 and started the car show in 1993, which was relocated to downtown seven years later. In a statement, the club thanked the support of stakeholders in the area: “With the cooperation of the city of Delaware, including city officials, police department, fire department, and public works department, the show has become a huge success. Our appreciation and gratitude also go out to Ohio Wesleyan University for their hospitality and use of grounds and to all the merchants in downtown for their ever-growing support. Because of all of these folks, the show has grown to what it is today and through them we have seen the spirit of Delaware.”
Since it began, the show has donated more than $265,000 to OhioHealth Hospice.
“It may come back in the future at a different location and smaller venue,” Clements said. But he shares the same hope with the club that another organization, individual or group will continue the show in downtown.
On the other hand, the club will continue being involved with the community through its displays of vintage cars at the Delaware Shopping Center on U.S. 23 during First Fridays from April to October and a spring dance open to public in March.
“[They’re a] great group with which to work,” city spokesman Lee Yoakum said. “Nobody does it better than the Vintage Auto Club.”
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.