Mercer Island’s Summer Celebration is steeped in tradition, and this year, a piece of history will be on display at the parade and other events.
Islander Steve Hearon is bringing a 1918 Cadillac to the celebration and the 16th annual Mercer Island Car Show on July 15.
Hearon has been participating in the local car show since its inception, along with Island resident and organizer Tom Alberts. Hearon has about half a dozen vehicles at his home on the north end of the Island, and others in storage.
He is more of a fan of hot rods from the 1950s and 1960s, and is “partial to Chevrolets.” But when he found out that a family friend was selling a car that was almost 100 years old, he had to see it. Though the car hadn’t run in 40 years, he ended up buying it.
“I have a way of making engines run, that’s sort of my way,” Hearon said.
He bought the old car about six or seven years ago, he said, and finally got it to start this year. He had to get it working before its 100th birthday, he said.
He entered the car in its first show last month, at Triple XXX in Issaquah, and it won an award for “Best Original Cadillac.”
Hearon has been interested in cars since he was a kid, and got his entire family, including three children and four grandchildren, involved in his hobby. Hearon’s cars served as the procession vehicles for his wedding as well as his daughter’s.
Hearon “grew up being a car guy,” he said, going to car shows and drag races with his father. At his day job, he’s semi-truck and trailer a dealer and has owned his own business for 30 years.
Hearon also has a semi-professional garage at his Island home, where he and his family spend most Sunday afternoons after church. They have a TV in the shop, so they can watch football.
He loves driving his cars around Mercer Island, going to True Value Hardware or picking his granddaughter up from school. Her favorite is his Bucket T Roadster.
One of Hearon’s favorite things about classic cars is the nostalgia and memories they bring. In that way, a car show is “like a museum,” he said.
“When we put on a car show or drive an old car around, it always puts smiles on peoples’ faces, because you’re sharing history,” he said. “I’m trying to restore some of that history [and] facilitate that reminiscing. People say, ‘My grandpa had that car,’ or ‘My high school boyfriend had that car.’”
But Hearon also said that classic cars are a good investment and “more fun than the stock market.”
Many cars have come and gone through his garages over the years and the only one he regrets selling is a 1967 Corvette, he said.
The 1918 Cadillac was “out of character.”
“When I buy a car, it’s usually something I’ve wanted for a long time,” he said. “I don’t have too much else I want, but sometimes I stumble upon something and I have to buy it.”
Along with Hearon’s historic Cadillac, other classic cars, street rods, motorcycles and sport, exotic and antique vehicles will be on display at the Mercer Island Car Show. The show is sponsored by Covenant Shores of Mercer Island. It is not competitive and there is no entry fee.
Some cars in the show will be driving VIPs through the Summer Celebration parade route on July 14.
Farmers Insurance provides the car show team with two levels of its parking lot, which provides a great place to park and display the cars, Alberts said. The show also attracts a lot of spectators to and from the Summer Celebration festival, food fair and children’s fun zone.
Car Show participants can also drive one loop around the Island before the show starts. Those wishing to participate in “Cruise the Loop” can meet at New Seasons Market (2755 77th Ave. S.E.) around 8 a.m., to depart at 8:15 a.m.
See www.mercerislandcarshow.com for more on the show, which begins at 10 a.m. Sunday. Acknowledgements start at 3 p.m.
For more on Summer Celebration, see www.mercergov.org.