Autofest carries on despite rain

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The 18th Annual Autofest was hit by a downpour Sunday morning. Despite the heavy rain many car enthusiast still chose to attend festival, though many regretted washing their cars before the show. See more photos on page 12A.

NEW ULM — The 18th annual Autofest kept trucking along despite the torrential rain Sunday.

Storms were in the forecast for the day, but it was hoped the storms would miss New Ulm. Unfortunately the rain hit just as the car show started.

This was not the first rain incident in the Autofest’s 18 year history, but the festival has never been washed out and that was true this year as well.

The number of entries in show was lower, likely due to rain. In 2018 around 375 cars were on display with six rows cars. This year, only two rows were necessary, but those that did show were dedicated.

Several festival-goers hunddled under tarps, umbrellas or inside their vehicles during the worst of the rain.

“Doc” Lisowski sat under a special lawn chair with an overhang next to his 1978 Camaro Z28. LIsowski said he bought the car new before joining the service.

While he was overseas he sold the car to his sister on the condition she sell it back to him later. Lisowski is proud to say the vehicle has only been through one family, but admitted it has gone through a couple paint colors. It sat for few years before he decided to restore it. Now he takes to all the car shows in the region.

His only regret about attending this year’s Autofest was washing his car before the storm.

Steven Fennern also stayed with his vehicle, but rolling up the window was not an option since he brought a Jeep. Fennern said his M151 was the last of the traditional army Jeeps. It was phased out in favor of the Humvee. Many of the M151s were scrapped but a few were saved by collectors. Fennern’s Jeep was initially sold to a collector in Canada and eventually return to the United State where it was purchased from a collector in New York.

The rain pushed many of the car enthusiasts indoors. Last year the Autofest set up a building for women oriented vendors called the Pink Lady’s Garage. The Pink Lady’s Garage was a major benefit this year as it allowed people to escape the rain.

Those who did not want to view cars but remain dry gravitated the Civic Center to view the booth setup alongside the brand new cars

on display.

Vendor Jim Thorne brought a collection of model cars to the show. Thorne said he started collecting car models as a hobby and now 25 year later it is his lifestyle.

Thorne has dozens of vehicle models of every automobile imaginable. No one type of model sell better than the other. It’s not about which vehicle is the best, it is about which car a person has the closest attachment.

“People are looking for the a model of their car, or their dads car or even a model of the car their neighbor had,” Thorne said.

Thorne said his favorite vehicles have a lot of details. Maybe the vehicles have customs seats or the gas take is hidden behind the license plate. It is the special details that makes a car unique, he said. Everyone has their personal preference but that’s a good thing.

“Life would be pretty dull if everyone like the same thing,” Thorne said.

The Autofest is proof that there is no one universal preference. Vehicles of every color and design were on display. In terms of personal transport, everyone has a car or truck they love to show off no matter if its rain or shine.