World of Wheels a family affair
HUNTINGTON -- Car enthusiasts of all ages and preferences could drive up and down the east coast and not find a car show comparable to the 36th annual World of Wheels at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, said Mike Manis, of Daytona Beach, Fla.
Manis and his father, Bennie Manis, had their 1956 Cadillac on display at the show -- just one of more than 150 vehicles parked at the arena this weekend. The father-son duo has been making the trip from Florida to Huntington for the past eight years to display at the show, which Mike Manis said is one of a kind.
"We haven't found a show like this anywhere," he said. "It really is very family-oriented, and everyone looks after each other. Everyone here has the same goal, and, if anyone needs help in getting there, people here are always ready to get down to business and help out where they are needed."
The event, which is sponsored by O'Reilly Auto Parts and Cooper's Truck & Accessories, was started by Richard Wheeler and his wife, Jo, who have drafted the help of their children through the years to make the show a reality.
Jo Wheeler said her family has grown in many ways along with the show.
"When this show started, it was more of a hobby, but now it's a business all of its own," she said. "For us, it feels like everyone who shows a car here is family. We get to see the same people year after year, and everyone is friendly with one another. We want people to come to the show to feel like they are part of that family."
In making the event family friendly, Jo Wheeler said they try to focus on getting as many activities for kids as they can.
"You know, for older kids and adults, the fun is looking at all of the cars we have here," she said. "But for kids, all of that walking around with your parents gets boring fast. We want to have things for the kids to do while the big kids look at the big toys."
There is plenty of action for the kids at the show's annual model car contest as well as a coloring contest.
The NASCAR Sprint Series No. 13 Geico car driven by Casey Mears is on display along with the Geico gecko, who is at the show for the rest of the weekend.
Huntington's own Batman and Captain America have made appearances at the show with Batman's Batmobile in the form of a 2006 Dale Jarrett Performance, Roush Super-charged Mustang Convertible and their H4H Hero Hummer.
The show will continue from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3 .
Admission is $7 for adults and $3.50 for children younger than 12. Children younger than 3 get in for free.