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Midvale Journal

Vintage cars line Main Street once again thanks to efforts of former resident

Jul 27, 2021 11:07AM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

Main Street in Midvale was closed to traffic on July 17 to display more than 200 classic cars. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

On Saturday, July 17, Midvale residents had a chance to go back in time. On that hot afternoon, Main Street was lined with more than 200 vintage cars and filled with families and classic car enthusiasts. 

Cars and vendors stretched from Center Street to City Hall. Attendees admired the beautifully restored vehicles, learn about local businesses and organizations and purchase refreshments.

Travis Peterson was the key organizer of the event.

“I decided to approach Midvale about reviving this show because it was so important to me as I grew up on old 6th Avenue,” Peterson said. “I had family members on every street and quite a few are still here. We walked down to the show on Main Street every year.”

Peterson, who now lives a few miles west, assembled a team to help him accomplish his vision. Rob Lambros provided shirts and banners at cost and Kody Balara donated his time, graphic design and marketing skills. Lambros and Balara are both Midvale residents and business owners affiliated with Rockin Hotrod Productions. 

Midvale City’s sponsorship was also critical to the event’s success. 

The city shut down the streets, provided the barricades, and handled the trash, according to Laura Magness, communications director for the city. The city also promoted the event on their digital signs and social media and even opened up the Art House (formerly known as the Midvale Museum) for people to use the restrooms.

The car show was operated as a completely nonprofit venture. All funds went toward costs of organizing the show with the remaining proceeds going to the Utah Food Bank. Participating car owners were asked to donate $5 or a can of food and attendees were encouraged to purchase raffle tickets with cash or cans of food. Raffle prizes came from local businesses and ranged from T-shirts to oil changes to tattoo gift certificates.

“I called a few places and was told repeatedly that the food bank doesn’t get many donations during the summer,” Peterson said. “They need it and were very excited.”

The event ended up collecting around 2,500 pounds of food and nearly $1,000 in cash for the food bank.

In spite of growing up loving the car show, Peterson himself does not restore cars.

“I can mechanically fix things, but I don’t have the talent for the paint and body,” Peterson said. 

In fact, Peterson has an embarrassing memory from going to the car show as a kid. “I leaned my bike against a car and scratched it,” Peterson said. “Luckily, the car belonged to my second uncle and he was OK with it.”

Peterson later inherited a classic car that his grandfather had restored, a 1966 red Impala convertible that had been meant for Peterson’s father.

Sgt. Cory Vernon Peterson, Travis’s dad, served as a police officer in the Salt Lake Valley for 20 years and had just been promoted to the Unified Police Department in Midvale when he died from complications due to pancreatitis. 

In 2019, Peterson organized a blood drive at the police station to honor the anniversary of his father’s death. At the drive he got to talking to the chief about the old car shows on Main Street, and after four or five months of contemplating the idea he decided to go for it. 

“I’m just so proud of how many people came out. It just blew me away,” Peterson said. “It was great seeing my grandpa and from the other side of my family, my grandma, come out. They had so much fun.”

Peterson hopes to continue both events in the future. 

“I’m going to take a few days off, then start working on the blood drive.”