30th annual Rod and Roll car show returns Aug. 21

Published 8:44 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Cars of all makes and models will descend upon downtown Dowagiac next week.

The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce’s 30th annual Rod and Roll Car Show will take place downtown on Saturday, Aug. 21. Vehicle registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the Trophy Ride will take place at 2 p.m.

Baker’s Rhapsody will be on hand serving up a French toast breakfast for a low cost and Wood Stock & Grill will have barbeque items available. The event’s tailgate market will feature a handful of vendors, including vintage car collectibles and meat sticks from Zick’s Meats, 215 N. Mechanic St., Berrien Springs.

More than 200 vehicles are expected to attend the event, according to chamber president and event co-chair Kris Soenen of Who Knew? Consignment.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “We have a great crowd base that comes year after year. Car owners love that our event is located downtown. There are many things they can do down here.”

The annual event was founded by Ed Kazlauskas and Curt Rohdy in 1990 as a way for car-loving community members to meet and socialize. Kazlauskas was later diagnosed with cancer and ended up passing away at the age of 60, on Feb. 13, 2016.

Kazlauskas’ son, Jim, of Jim D’s Body Shop, 56265 M-51 S, Dowagiac, oversees the event now as a co-chair.

“I think it’s one of the larger [car shows] in the area,” Jim said. “A lot of local people like the show. There are a lot of custom vehicles out there.”

Participating vehicles are eligible for the event’s car competition. The cars are peer-judged, with the top 15 awarded trophies as well as awards for five categories: Best custom, best engine, best interior, best paint and best rat rod.

The trophies are created by Jim and his team at the body shop.

“We build the trophies using recycled car parts,” he said. “We spend hours and hours assembling them. Coming up with new ideas every year is challenging.”

The Rod and Roll is an event local retailers look forward to.

“It’s always a fun event for retailers, specialty shops and restaurants,” Soenen said. “Some retailers will host special games, door prizes and things like that.”

Jim is looking forward to seeing downtown Dowagiac decked out with classic and custom cars.

“I’d like to see a large showing,” he said. “I think we will. People have been cooped up this past year and want to show their cars. It’d be nice to see new vehicles. People are excited to get out.”