STANTON — With hundreds of patrons browsing through the classic and modern cars lining Main Street in downtown Stanton Saturday afternoon, Dennon Velasquez, 6, of Stanton was simply trying to spot an impressive engine that he believed would make a good fit in his dad’s car.
An event that is typical in bringing out the inner-child in most adults, Dennon, along with his father, mother and younger brother, took the opportunity to enjoy the 29th Annual Stanton Old Fashioned Days festival on Saturday together as a family, with the car show being just one of the many highlights of their day.
“We just enjoy everything,” Dennon’s mother, Hollie Velasquez said. “We only go to maybe two fairs a year, but living here in town, we always go to this one. We’re really glad the town does this.”
The Velasquez family moved to Stanton four years ago and has since made it four straight trips to Stanton Old Fashioned Days, having to walk just a few blocks from their downtown home.
As Hollie’s husband, Nathan Velasquez said, it’s a chance to spend a carefree day in close company with his family.
“It’s good for the adults, it’s good for the kids, there’s just something for everyone here,” he said. “We’ve been here for hours and we still haven’t even had a chance to enjoy everything yet.”
Nathan Velasquez said his two children, Dennon and Felix, 2, were especially fond of the inflate-a-fun area set up for children.
“The kids have loved jumping around in the inflate-a-fun area, they don’t want to leave,” he said. “We’re hoping that we’ll still have time to really enjoy the car show as well though, as we’ve always loved the old cars.”
Beginning at 3 p.m and lasting until 8 p.m. on Saturday, the car show featured approximately 170 cars this year, ranging from a 1932 Ford to a 2012 Shelby.
Jim Aaron, owner of WGLM Radio in Greenville, which hosted the car show, said this year’s car show was especially successful, citing a larger turnout that he can remember in previous years.
“This is the most people walking around here that I’ve seen in the last few years,” he said. “It has been cloudy today, which you think could drop the turnout a bit, but I think it’s bigger than last year.”
Aaron said variety was key at this year’s car show and believes that the event will continue to be one of the major highlights of Old Fashioned Days in the future.
“I’ve seen everything from just above a junker to the best thing on the planet,” he said referencing the variety of cars in the show. “At these car shows, you meet up with people, create new memories and relive old ones. That’s what a car show is all about.”
Perhaps the most visually appealing of the five-day festival was the Grand Parade, which kicked off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Featuring firetrucks, floats, and countless tractors, the route of the parade traveled down Main Street, packed with rows of spectators on each end of the street.
For Greenville resident Kristofer Holden, the parade offered a chance to spend some quality time with his four-year-old son, Chayce, as the two rode in the parade together atop a tractor.
“He was waving and excited,” Holden said of Chayce, who sat on his lap. “He thought everyone must really like the tractor because everyone kept waving back at him. It’s nice to be able to spend time together and do something we can both enjoy.”
Holden also spent a few hours performing at the Free Stage performance area as a solo act with his guitar.
As musical acts both before and after him cancelled, he took it upon himself to play for four hours to keep spectators entertained.
“I played mostly country, but some original stuff as well,” he said. “I played for about four hours, with a break in between to ride in the parade. It made for a long day, but it was a lot of fun.”
At the end of the day, the festival, which aims to celebrate the heritage of the Stanton community each year, was about putting smiles on people’s faces, as 2012 Stanton Queen Brandy Foster can testify.
“This year’s festival was a lot of fun,” she said. “Being able to wave to all of the kids in the parade and seeing them smile and wave back, that was special,” she said. “I’m glad to see so many people had such a good time this year.”