In Columbus, a city known for its celebrated engines, what’s under the hood of classic cars will get people revved Sept. 17.

That’s when the 20th Annual Hot Rods and Rock & Roll extravaganza unfolds along Washington and Fourth streets in downtown Columbus. The free event, organized by 106.1 The River radio station, normally attracts 7,000 to 8,000 people throughout the day from 3 to 9 p.m.

“It just seems to grow nearly every year,” said Rich Anthony, the station’s brand manager who coordinates the show.

His description of the gathering each year includes looking north on Washington Street “and I can see absolutely no blacktop. Just a crowd of people. It’s crazy.”

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He acknowledged that he hardly could have imagined such success when he first assumed leadership of the gathering 13 years ago.

“I didn’t quite see all this coming,” he said.

Besides great crowds, organizers have enjoyed great weather, with no rainouts.

Cars lining the streets are only part of the draw. Food from barbecue to burgers is available, and the band that has returned for nearly 15 years has become a classic part of the night.

Classic cover band Rick K & the Allnighters will present another two-hour concert of high-energy music.

“Rick K is such a great entertainer, able to do any era of music,” Anthony said.

“And he always takes time to venture out into the crowd.”

Not to mention making a trip to the drum kit, where he and percussionist Steve Moore trade lighting licks on the 1960s classic hit, “Wipe Out,” that eventually leaves the crowd, well, wiped out.

“The drummer is absolutely insane,” Anthony said. “And the crowd loves that. He’s like that crazy Muppet drummer.”

Terry Robinholt, president of the Columbus Corvette Club, sees the yearly event as a significant family affair. It’s also a great time to nurture young auto enthusiasts perhaps seeing a smorgasbord of vintage vehicles for the first time.

“It’s a great time to interest the younger generation (in classic cars),” Robinholt said.

Even after years of attending and displaying various Corvettes, the Edinburgh resident never grows weary of the show known for steering area residents toward one last blast of summer.

“Really,” he said, “the interaction with all the people is what it’s all about.”

Classic cars, classic tunes

What: 20th Annual Hot Rods and Rock & Roll, presented by 106.1 The River classic radio station.

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17. Car show begins at 3. Concert with classic hits cover band Rick K & the Allnighters runs from 7 to 9.

Where: Fourth and Washington streets in downtown Columbus.

Admission: Free.


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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.