Vintage auto tour suits Mount Airy to a T


July 19, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HISTORY ON WHEELS visited Carroll County this week, as hundreds of vintage automobile enthusiasts toured the towns and countryside in their Model T Fords.

People on the streets of Mount Airy stopped to wave, smile and reminisce with neighbors as dozens of Model T's wound their way through the town.

The stop was part of the activities for the 46th annual tour of the Model T Ford Club International, held this week in Frederick.

"Everybody likes to drive them," said Walter Stone, president of the Maryland chapter of the Model T Ford Club. "Our club is here to celebrate the Model T and also to preserve it."

The Mount Airy resident said he bought his 1926 Roadster pickup at an antique automobile meet in Hershey, Pa., more than 30 years ago.

"I remembered my father talking about having a Model T," said Stone. "He used to tell me stories about how they had no defrosters and you had to use a candle inside to get the window clear but you had to watch out not to get the candle too close to the glass or it would crack.

"When we saw it at the Hershey meet I said we have to have it," he said.

Three decades and many restorations later, Stone used the Roadster to lead the tour this week in Mount Airy.

"We map out these tours because we like to drive the cars and people like to see them," he said. "Everybody waves and they can really get a good look at the cars because we can only go 25 to 30 miles an hour."

Fifteen million Model T's rolled off the Ford assembly lines from 1909 to 1927. It was the first car middle-class Americans could readily afford. Today as many as 14,000 members belong to Model T Ford clubs.

More than 170 of the cars are in Frederick this week. Enthusiasts from around the country put their treasured cars on trailers, driving from Michigan, Illinois and farther for the annual event. One couple flew from Australia, leaving their car at home. Another couple drove their Model T cross country from California, embarking on the journey last month.

"It's just our way of preserving America's history," said Michelle Eyre, a club member from Battle Creek, Mich.

"The best time we have is when we put cookers on the back on the manifold exhaust and prepare a dinner," said Stone. "We cook a pork roast or a beef back there while we're driving.

"The only problem is all the dogs that chase you," he said, laughing.

The Model T Ford Club will wind up its Frederick tour today as it drives through the countryside near Cunningham Falls State Park.

Mount Airy carnival

A tradition for 75 years continues Monday as the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company Carnival opens.

"I can remember going to my first carnival when it was still in Wildwood Park," said Doug Alexander, deputy fire chief. "It's evolved over the years, going from half a dozen rides to being the second-biggest carnival in Carroll County."

The carnival moved to its current location, the Mount Airy Volunteer Fireman's carnival grounds on Route 27, in the mid-1950s. But the traditions - food, such as pit beef and funnel cakes, rides for kids and entertainment for adults - remain.

"There's a huge amount of community support because the firefighters couldn't put this on by themselves," said Alexander.

The highlight of the carnival is a parade that winds from Mount Airy Elementary School, down South Main Street to Park Avenue, ending at the carnival grounds. The parade, featuring up to 40 firetrucks, will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Entertainment will be provided Monday night by the Vandells; Tuesday, Mason Dixon Band; Wednesday, Mahoney Bothers Juke Box Heroes; Thursday, Ashley Marie and the Silver Run Band; July 26, Allen Brown and the Wishing Well; and July 27, Wichita Falls.

A fireworks display is scheduled for July 27. Ride-all-night specials will be offered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The carnival grounds are on Twin Arch Road at Route 27. Information: 301-829-0100.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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