Rims on the River
April 15-17 • Downtown
NOTE: URGENT WEATHER UPDATE!!! – Due to the weather reports that we have been monitoring all week, we’ve made the decision to postpone the Rims On The River car show from this Saturday April 16th to the following day, Sunday April 17th. Registration will still begin at 9:00am, with the overall show beginning to the public at 11:00am on Sunday. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, but feel it’s the right choice to protect everyone’s cars. I sincerely hope that you all will still be able to make it, and be filmed for “The Mother Car Show”, on the Fox Sports Network. – Chris Andrews
Few things can make a heart pound like the roar of an engine and an eye-catching paint job. That’s the idea behind many car commercials: a shining body and spinning wheels venturing down a winding country road. An upbeat rhythm comes loud through the speakers, and the windows are open to catch a cool breeze. Almost any new car can give a driver this combined sense of power and freedom, but for true car enthusiasts, it’s the nostalgia for a classic vehicle that really gets their motors running. Chris Andrews understands this love for cars of the past, and it’s his goal to share it.
“It’s about the passion of a great hobby,” Andrews says. “From the classics that people invest a lot of money and time to restore, to the Rat Rod that someone built from scratch with pieces and parts that they were able to salvage, it’s something very personal that they all take pride in when they step back and look at it.”
His enthusiasm for vintage vehicles is why he coordinates one of Wilmington’s largest annual car shows: Rims on the River. This weekend, cars and motorcycles dating past 1980 will line Front Street, from Orange Street heading north to Red Cross Street. But this show isn’t just for locals. Rims on the River attracts thousands of tourists to our downtown area. “Last year we had about 600 vehicles in the show and about 35,000 people came down to see [them],” Andrews explains.
Thus, Rims on the River is not merely a parking lot of aged cars. Andrews and his team planned an entire event, complete with live music and vendors, that spans three days. On Friday, folks can enjoy local bands at 16 Taps. Hell’s Kitchen will put on their dueling piano show, while Front Street Brewery and Slainte Irish Pub will also offer pre-event welcome parties in honor of the car show.
The party continues on Saturday, April 16 at the four featured bars. 16 Taps offers live music from The Straight 8’s, Andrew Kane and the Alibis, Phantom Playboys and a burlesque show from Caravan of Cuties.
Sunday, April 17 is the day downtown Wilmington will be invaded by old-fashioned muscle cars and motorcycles. Car placement begins at 9 a.m., and it costs only $10 to exhibit a vehicle. The show itself runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an awards show at Bailey Theater Park (12 N. Front St.) at 4 p.m. The categories for judged awards are Best in Show, Best Modified, Best Truck, Best Antique (1940 and older), Best Interior, Best Paint and Best Rat Rod. There’s also the People’s Choice, in which spectators can select their favorite vehicle, and Participant’s Choice, in which entrants will vote on their peers’ cars.
During the car show, a free concert will take place at Riverfront Park across from the Federal Building at 2 p.m. Machine Gun and The Noseriders will open, and Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, is the headliner.
Also on Sunday is a radio-controlled car pit set up at the corner of Princess and N. Front Streets. At “The Corral” on the corner of Princess and Water Streets, people can sell their vehicles. As long as they bring their own for sale sign, there’s no fee. Car-related vendors will be on hand as well during the car show, from tinting to artwork and cleaning products to clothing.
The Hot Rod Lunch and Brunch will be offered at Dixie Grill, Front Street Brewery, Hell’s Kitchen and Slainte Irish Pub, where car fans can begin discussing next year’s plans for Rims on the River.
“These businesses are some of the best ambassadors of our downtown area,” he says. “To me, it’s all about representing ourselves well. We’ve got businesses here that are some of the best, respectively in their niches, that I want to be able to direct people to. [I want everyone] to have a great experience not only during the actual car show, but also during their entire visit here in downtown Wilmington.”
Rims on the River is receiving national recognition this year, too. The Mother’s Car Show of Fox Sports Network will be in town to record the event for an upcoming episode. “This is really exciting news to me,” Andrews says, “as it shows that a lot of hard work has paid off in creating this recognized popular event.”
Nostalgia and beautiful engineering will be at the forefront of excitement this week. And folks who are traveling out of town can even get a discount at the Inn Keeper Hotel, 5345 Market Street, just by mentioning Rims on the River.
“Everyone remembers their first car, or maybe grandpa’s old car,” Andrews divulges. “It’s a tie to our past. The car culture is tied to so many people’s lifestyles through their vehicles, the music they listen to, to the clothes that they wear. After saying all of this, it’s pretty impressive [to] see so many [cars] all together in one place.”