EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — Gene Ferrell is ready to head home, but getting home won’t be as easy as hopping into his 1935 Ford 5 Window Coupe adorned with a sweater-wearing dog hood ornament.
“Ten years ago, my mom knitted a bunch of sweaters for it, and I put one of those on it all year long,” he said.
Ferrell’s home is in Moundsville, West Virginia, which is more than 450 miles from Evansville, Indiana.
“Driving in this thing for more than two hours at a time is a chore,” Ferrell said.
Even though it is a ways from home, Ferrell tries to make sure he and his Ford are at Frog Follies, the largest street rod event for pre-1949 cars in the world.
“I don’t think there’s a better venue for car people,” he said. “Everybody’s always so friendly and they’re always willing to help you.”
“We never miss this,” Alan Stephens, another hot rod enthusiast said. “We never miss this. It’s always a tradition every year to come to. It just seems like every year it gets better. You just meet nice people.”
Frog Follies officials estimate more than 4,000 vintage cars made it out to the county fairgrounds this year, with more fans than ever coming out. All the money raised from the event is going to local charities helping adults and children with disabilities. Officials said the increased traffic led to increased profits, meaning more money will be going to the charities.
Stephens, a Rockport, Indiana native, has been coming since the 1970s with his street rods. He said he is ecstatic about having this show in his backyard.
“It’s an honor to have something thise close to home to go to,” he said. “A lot of other people come from even other states, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and stuff and to hear them talk about getting to come each year and how much they enjoy it, it’s just a wonderful thing.”
For those like Ferrell, who travel a little farther, it is still well worth the journey.
FOR THOSE… LIKE FERRELL… WHO TRAVEL A LITTLE FARTHER… IT’S STILL WELL WORTH THE JOURNEY.
“As long as I can drive and they car holds up, we’ll be here every year,” he said.
And they hope to see Frog Follies continue to grow, each and every year.