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CLASSIC RIMS: 14th annual car show will feature hot rides, live music and a Perfect Pinup contest

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Rims on the River will kick off on Friday, May 18, with local entertainment across downtown partner venues.

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“The car culture scene is a bit incestuous,” Rims on the River organizer Chris Andrews says, “as in we all tend to go and support the other shows that are in the region. After attending a lot of these shows, friendships are built—whether it’s car talk or just plain old shooting the breeze!”

ROLLIN' ON THE RIVER: The 14th annual Rims on the River will have hot rods and classic cars and trucks lined up around downtown this Saturday. Read our interview with fest organizer Chris Andrews for all the scoop. Courtesy photo

ROLLIN’ ON THE RIVER: The 14th annual Rims on the River will have hot rods and classic cars and trucks lined up around downtown this Saturday. Courtesy photo

For Andrews and his ilk, events like Rims on the River are days of fellowship and fun. With Rims held in downtown Wilmington, it becomes a unique setting for a car show—and one that has continued to grow over its 14-year lifespan.

“Rims has spread outside of our state—which also brings in many cars not usually seen at area shows,” Andrews adds.

The 2018 event will kick off on Friday, May 18, with local entertainment across downtown partner venues, such as Front Street Brewery (9 N. Front St.), Hell’s Kitchen (118 Princess St.), Fat Tony’s Italian Pub (131 N. Front St.) and Calico Room (107 S. Front St.), to name a few. Saturday’s car show starts at 11 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony, free concert, pin-up contest for charity, and more. In short, there’s more than cars to get excited about this weekend.

“I just think there’s so much to see,” Andrews assures, “between the cars, vendors, music, and of course, the whole downtown backdrop where you have options to shop, eat and relax.”

Attendees can expect to see award-winning hot rods, lowriders, and other rebuilt and preserved classics. Last year’s Best In Show was Jim Furr’s 1950 Oldsmobile, while Tanner Benton’s 1926 Ford Model T won Best Antique. Other categories range from Best Truck (Lance Lazarus’ 1950 Ford F100) to Best Rat Rod (Dempsey Smith’s 1933 Dodge truck). Andrews hopes to see a few Tri-fives this year, of which Chevy built during what some consider their best years: 1955-‘57.

“I am currently working on a new project,” Andrew admits, “a ‘55 Chevy Panel Delivery. So I’m looking for ideas others may have done. . . . As for favorites, there’s way too many to name. I guess I could sum it up by saying, ‘If I could, I’d be like Jay Leno and I’d have a huge warehouse of all the different varieties I love!’”

Festivities continue long past the Rims awards ceremony (4 p.m. Saturday, intersection of N. Front and Chestnut streets in front of the Post Office). Andrews has brought back the free Rims On The River concert, which use to be held the evening following the car show. 2018 welcomes tunes all day long. The free concert begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m., featuring local rockabilly favorites The Phantom Playboys, along with Skye Paige and The Dew Drops.

“There’s really going to be a lot going on that day, but if that wasn’t enough, our kind friends over at Reggie’s 42nd St. Tavern are going to be hosting an awesome after-party show [at 9:30 p.m.], featuring Hot Rod Walt & The Psycho Devilles, Katie & The Teardrops, Rocket 77 and The Ratchet Brothers,” andrews tells. “I’ve seen most of the bands a few times, and they’re all great. I think the styles really lend themselves to a nostalgic feel, which fits right in with the cars. All of the music sets a great vibe for everyone to enjoy themselves.”


PERFECT PINUP: 2017’s June Perfect Pinup Lisa Frankenstein’s strikes a beauty pose. Courtesy photo

Another added dimension of nostalgia and fundraising is the Perfect Pinup Wilmington, hosted by Perfectly Pinned Up’s Brittany Jean. Last year was the first year and they raised funds for local nonprofit Operation Pretty Things.

“Ten girls were hand-selected to be a part of the contest and had to earn crowd votes by collecting donations ($1 equals one vote),” Jean explains. “All of the money collected went directly to Operation Pretty Things, and in just four short hours, we ended up totaling over $1,200! It just goes to show that pinup girls know how to team up and work together toward the greater good.”

Competing for various prizes, 10 contestants will return this year for the second annual Perfect Pinup Wilmington and raise monies for the Semper Fi Fund. The theme is WWII, and each contestant is expected to wear family-friendly theme-appropriate outfits. They will be judged on outfit, hair and makeup, posing, and how they achieve the “pin-up style” overall.

Semper Fi Fund ( provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 combat-wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. While Jean dubs it an exceptional charity—with a Platinum Seal of Transparency—it’s one that hits close to home, too.

“I knew I wanted to choose a veteran charity because I had been getting so many requests—and of course I love supporting our nation’s heroes!” Jean explains. “My husband is a medically retired Marine veteran, and he directed me to Semper Fi Fund. They personally assisted him in the past, so he knew first hand how wonderful their organization was.”

Andrews would like to make Rims on the River bigger, with even more cars and more activities in the future. The issue is downtown Wilmington’s own growth plan and current construction projects, which present logistical obstacles, due to road closings.

“For the last two years, I’ve been working on how to overcome these issues and grow,” he says. “We just have to be patient, and once these improvements are done, we’ll have [an] even better venue for the show. . . . For myself as well as all of the car entries that participate, we appreciate the thousands of people who come down to the show and admire all of the hard work put into these cars. For without all these vehicle wonders, there would be no show!”

Rims on the River
May 18 – 20
Downtown Wilmington
Front Street
Free •

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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