Huge crowds for RetroFest

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After a hiatus of in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RetroFest 2022 returned to downtown Chatham with crowds of people who were eager to see the hundreds of cars on display throughout the core on Saturday. Attendees watched from the sidewalks on Friday and enjoyed the classic car cruise, followed by local live bands in Tecumseh Park’s band shell. Festivities on Saturday ensured there was something for everyone including food and craft vendors as well as inflatables for the youngsters. (Sarah Schofield/Special to The Chatham Voice)

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There was plenty to see and do for both gear heads and ordinary folks at RetroFest 2022.

Chatham’s King Street was awash with crowds Friday and Saturday, estimated at between 20,000 and 30,000 for the weekend.

Nancy Dudley, a co-chair of the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, said the weather co-operated, bringing out car buffs and curiosity seekers alike.

“The downtown was abuzz with people out and about enjoying the festival,” Dudley said. “It was great to see everybody.”

(Jeanine Foulon/The Chatham Voice)

An estimated 600 vehicles were part of the Kent Historic Auto Club Classic Car Show, Dudley said, which could be a record for the event.

“We’re really excited to see the weather co-operated,” she added, noting many classic car owners don’t venture out in the rain or storms.
“Many of the participants only come in fair weather,” Dudley said.

Music performances and other activities were well attended, Dudley said, with large groups converging in Tecumseh Park to listen to tunes and enjoy a beverage and food.

Miss RetroFest was crowned Saturday afternoon with the title going to Vanessa Young-Tome, also known as “Vintage Vanessa.”

Sadly, the event was marred by a traffic collision Friday evening during the popular car cruise in which two people lost their lives on Queen’s Line.

The Chatham-Kent Police Service are not identifying the people who were killed and no further comment will be made as the incident is under investigation.

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