Hub City Car Show Coming Back to Downtown Centralia

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The Lewis County Quarter Milers Hub City Car Show will be back in downtown Centralia this August following a two-year stint at the Lewis County Veterans Museum due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Pre-registration is now open at a cost of $25. Those interested in participating can call The Shady Lady’s Holly Ryan, a co-sponsor for the event, at 360-736-4333.

The Hub City car show is free for attendees, and while it does fill the streets of the historic downtown core of Centralia, parking will be available on Railroad Avenue.

Sponsored by the Centralia Festivals Association, Ryan and a few other people and organizations, the car show event runners — Lewis County Quarter Milers club’s Paula Sandirk and Russ Smith — are excited to bring the event back to Centralia and wanted to make sure that all the folks who are helping move the show back to its original location are thanked and appreciated.

“We shut down the whole street,” Ryan told The Chronicle. “It’s wonderful. We have not just the Quarter Milers and all their cars, but other car shows join in. And then at the end, there is a cruise that usually happens through town after 5 o’clock.”

Ryan has been in business for over a decade in Centralia’s downtown and said she’s enjoyed the car show for many years as a tradition.

She said the show’s return to downtown Centralia is even more special considering what the world has gone through in recent years.

“I think after coming through COVID, it is so nice to have something that we enjoyed before coming back and have the groups so excited to put the cars back on the asphalt,” Ryan said. “It’ll be great seeing everyone together. And it means so much more now — people coming together to have their moments so it’s a little bit more sentimental this year.”

She said something is endearing about seeing the cars and their owners at the show. She lamented that not all the participants may have made it through the pandemic.

On the business side of things, Ryan said the car show is a boon for all area shops and service providers.

“It’s a huge promotion for all the businesses downtown,” she said. “It fills the bars. We’re not bringing back a beer garden. We just want to see the people supporting our restaurants, our bars, any new places that have opened to really get those places off the ground.”

In her experience with the car show, Ryan said the business boom that it brings is indiscriminate.

“From doing so many events for the historic downtown, we have seen some events that really feed the antique stores. Some events really feed the gift stores. Some feed the art (stores). Some feed the restaurants. And this kind of feeds everybody. No matter what kind of storefront you have, it’s a melting pot of people that come,” she said.

Ryan said the business representatives she has spoken with “are so excited to see the people flood the streets again.”

And unlike the region’s perilous floodwaters that cause damage each year, this flood of people will be thousands strong, working to build the region and its economy up rather than tear anything down.

“Some people we only see for the car show,” Ryan said. “They come from way out of town. So some people as far as 100 miles away come from out of town just for it. Some relationships have been built via the car show, so we anticipate them coming back for the show.

“And maybe people that haven't been downtown for a while, (they) come and see the businesses, see the shopkeepers — people who’ve brought their folks to town,” she said.

But the best part for Ryan is seeing all the families coming back to take part in an event that has become an institution in town, she said.

“My favorite part, I can say, is not just the beautiful cars — because the cars are gorgeous that come — but it's just all the families, the kicks and giggles that people have that love coming out and showing their cars,” Ryan said.

“They are so excited that people can come out to see them and ask them questions and see all their hard work in investing in their vehicle — just investing in their pride,” she said.