17th Annual Rocketfest!

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As host Franklin Graf says, “Rocketfest is not a car show; it’s a picnic and get-together.” Ever since I have been NAOC Editor, I have heard great stories about this legendary one-day event in Westfield Center, Ohio. This was the year to attend and check it out.

Franklin arranged great parking for the bus, right across the street from the event, which is held on the property of his shop. We were in a private, shady spot that used to be the parking for the ball fields. It was nice and level too. He had cleared it with the Police Chief so we headed over on Friday.

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We ended up getting kicked out a day early because somebody called to complain that the bus was parked on public property, even though we had already gotten permission. That turned out to be OK though, since we needed that extra day to squeeze into the state park in Pennsylvania where spots are first come, first served. More on that later.

The show is always on the second Saturday of August and we had fine weather. What is so famous about Rocketfest? Besides celebrating the Rocket engine made by Oldsmobile from 1949-1959 (in any make of car), the food was always described as fabulous. My first question when investigating an event, “Is there food involved?” was answered with a resounding YES. So. Much. Food. And so good too. Franklin and his well-oiled helpers grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and Italian sausage with all the trimmings. There was Italian tomato salad, corn casserole, a delightful bleu cheese and pecan salad, green bean casserole, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, baked beans, ham and asparagus wraps, fried chicken, shrimp; the list goes on and on. And that doesn’t even include the desserts!

My plate. And yes, I ate it all.
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We ate at noon and at 3:00 PM there was a parade around Westfield Center, a very quiet and well kept town dominated by what Franklin called The Company, Westfield Insurance. There is no real business district, just the Company buildings, the Westfield Inn and the civic building.

The Oldsmobiles and Rocket-engine powered other brands were out in force. There were probably 50 cars at this one day, not very publicized picnic.

My goofy friend and NAOC Membership Manager Paul, whose 1962 Starfire turned over 100,000 miles on the way to the show. It was good to see him again.
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There were five very rare fastbacks there too.
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Franklin’s self created panel wagon. Olds didn’t make one, but he did!

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And Tony won Franklin’s Pick with his Rocket engine powered 1929 Ford Model A.

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What a great day it was! See more photos here, and look for an article with lots more pictures in an upcoming issue of Runabouts to Rockets. Many thanks to Franklin for his hospitality and the local tour he gave us the next day, which helped us zero in on the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trails. Andy Platko had mentioned them at the show but overnight parking wasn’t allowed in the Cuyahoga National Park.  We zeroed in on some that were a little further from Cleveland and some folks we met at a trailhead with Frank during our tour helped us pick our next stop. Since Rocketfest was our last planned destination, we decided to check them out.

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