The Hermiston Classics Car Club hosted its 22nd annual Cool Rides Car Show, showcasing a plethora of vehicles, some of which came from out-of-state, during Hermiston’s 11th annual Funfest on Saturday.

Jeanne Steffey of the car club said the entrant from farthest away was a car from Bellflower, California, in the Los Angeles area.

The oldest car was a 1924 Ford C-Cab, owned by Lyle and Helen Bliss of Hermiston.

The couple bought the car a year ago from a man in Louisiana, and now plans to sell it — a common practice for them.

“We buy ’em, he fixes ’em up, we sell ’em and get something else,” Helen said.

Do they drive it?

“Oh yeah!” Lyle said with a grin. “Horses are trailered, hot rods are driven. It runs great, 500 horsepower.”

Helen helps detail the cars and keep them clean, too.

“I’ve got grease under my fingernails,” she said.

The couple has had several other classic cars, including a 1964 Falcon Sprint, a 1961 Ford Fairlane, and a 1940 Ford pickup, which Lyle said was his favorite.

For Russ and Tammi Lynch, the car they had on display is a piece of personal history.

“My grandfather bought it brand new in 1958,” said Russ of the red and white Ford Country Sedan. “He drove it till he was 92. Then he came back from breakfast one morning, got out of the car, and he passed away.”

Russ ended up with the car, and has had it for about 20 years. The couple tries to maintain the car just as it was, repainting it in its original colors and restoring the front seat, which had a hole where Russ’ grandfather used to sit.

“It’s only got 68,000 miles on it,” Russ said. “It reminds me of him when I drive it.”

The car club also gave out some awards, including one for a car manufactured in each decade, as well as the “Police Chief’s Award” or, according to the emcee, the car least likely to get out of town without a ticket. The best of show award went to Chip Chapman, with his 1941 Willys Roadster.

On Main Street, vehicles of another type drew a crowd.

The Outlaw Lawn Dragsters took over a block of the street on Saturday to stir up a little excitement.

“it fulfills your need for speed,” said James Buchanan, a Boise, Idaho resident who has traveled to the Funfest for several years to race.

Buchanan and his 17-year-old son, Dakota, were two of five racers on Saturday. The two enjoy working on their vehicles, which, at this point, are lawnmower in name only.

“You use motorcycle or snowmobile motors,” Buchanan said. “Basically the name is just for how it used to be.”

Buchanan said he spent about $2,000 on his vehicle, and it has been running for 10 years.

The Outlaw Lawn Dragsters have about 15 active team members, and host races around the region: Boise and New Plymouth, Idaho; Dayton and Yakima, Washington; and in Pilot Rock.

“The speeds they reach within an eighth of a mile are commensurate with what they reach with the big cars,” said Bob Middleton, who usually watches the races with his wife Carol and their grandson, Rian. “They’re doing 70 or better.”

Lisa Olson, the only woman racing on Saturday, had a pink drag racer she and her husband built. She has been racing for 17 years, and is from New Plymouth, Idaho.

“It’s just bragging rights,” she said. “It used to be more competitive, but now it’s just all in fun.”


Also on Main Street, kids played and adults browsed the many vendor shops set up, both local and out-of-town merchants.

Patsy Dickinson was selling brightly colored birdhouses and planters, constructed by her 87-year-old father, Dean, in his woodshop. Many of the pieces were painted to look like watermelons.

Caitlin Hunsaker was at the event for the second time with her business, Painted Mountain Henna.

This was Melissa Littrell’s first year at the event, selling her own paintings.

“It’s a home hobby,” she said. “I use acrylic paint, and just do a bunch of inspirational messages.”

For the first time, the Eastern Oregon Arts Show merged with Funfest, hoping to add something to both events. The show was held in a tent in front of city hall, just across from the Hermiston Farmer’s Market.

“We have a little less than we had last year,” said Mary Corp of the Desert Arts Council, which organized the event. “Some of the usual artists didn’t show this year, but we have some new artists, and it’s really a strong show.”

A new component this year was the show’s youth division, featuring art from students ages 13 to 18.

The show was juried by Roberta Lavadour, the director of the Pendleton Center of the Arts, and the best in show prize was awarded to Andi Aldrich for the photograph entitled “The Next Generation,” of a row of birds sitting on a fence.

Just outside the tent, the Hermiston Farmer’s Market was in full swing, with several local farms represented, as well as some unique additions. Cayla Barthel and Tammy Ontiveros of Flowingroots Farm were selling lettuce and basil grown in an aquaponics system — meaning the plants were not grown in mud, but in water.

On the main stage at the corner of Second and Main streets, crowds enjoyed the sounds of the Bram Brata Steel Band from the Tri-Cities, the antics of a mime clown, and an auction.

The event ended around 3 p.m., but at 4, there was a new attraction — the Around the World in One Fun Day event, which highlighted various cultures with performances, food and informational booths.


Contact Jayati Ramakrishnan at 541-564-4534 or

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