Owners were seated by their cars and you could stop to hear stories of amazing finds and the years of work it took to put the cars on display.
I got out and went to the show. I rode my Harley Davidson and parked by the Birmingham Weekly tent. It was encouraging, in the course of the Weekly’s own restoration, to ride through the business district, and to the park. It is really worthwhile to visit the park. The park was first established in 1881. Avondale was a community that grew up around the Avondale Mills factory. Kings Spring still feeds the lake that is at the entrance to the park. The recent improvements include accessible walking trails that take you right up to the rock face from which the spring still flows.
The park was the original home of the Birmingham zoo. The outdoor amphitheatre, that once was the venue for afternoon concerts and later 1970’s battles of the bands, has been fully restored. Above the lake and amphitheatre a knoll rises 130 feet. On top of the knoll is a villa that can be used for special events. Across from the lake there is a pavilion surrounded by beautiful roses and a variety of herbs. Walking through the pathways reminded of strolling among similar herbaceous beauty at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Go past the flowers and you come to the Avondale library. After visiting the park, I plan to go by the library one day, check out a book, and enjoy reading it by the lake. I might bring a picnic lunch along with something extra to feed the local ducks.
As I stood by the lake on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon, a flight of Canadian geese circled the lake and landed. The geese seemed to be emulating the restored cars that earlier that day had come through Avondale, had circled the lake and were nestled around its banks. The walking trails around the lake led me by dozens of cars. Owners were seated by their cars and you could stop to hear stories of amazing finds and the years of work it took to put the cars on display. My next to the favorite was a Crown Victoria. Imagine, marketing a top of the line car by reference to a British monarch. The owner spent years locating used and newly manufactured kit parts to bring the car back to show room condition. The car is fully drivable as was proven by an enjoyable trip down from Jasper. Anyone who might be interested in a restoration project should go to some of the local car shows and talk to the owners of these historic machines. Why sit in front of a television watching a Barrett Jackson auction when you can see similar cars up close and personal.
Now to my favorite which was a 1969 Trans Am Firebird. There were Camaros, Mustangs, a Barracuda, and even an AMC Javelin. I will always have fond memories of my first ride which was a Mustang. However, the lines of that blue Trans Am are perfection. No matter how many times my eyes followed the curves of that sleek machine, not a flaw could be found. The functioning air induction hood and the script 455 announce the enormous power of this street machine. I will admit part of my visual admiration is the memory of being behind the wheel of one of these cars. One of the unusual driving skills one had to master was how to press down on the accelerator so that you kept the back end from breaking loose which would cause the car to do a quick 180. Even if there had been cell phones at the time, texting while driving would not have been an issue. I can just imagine hitting the accelerator while texting with the centrifugal force of the spinning car resulting in thumb lock and the message OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
My excursion to the park to the park was not over after I admired the cars and visited with the owners. A group of boys and girls had gathered near the Weekly tent. They were admiring my motorcycle. There is always a fascination with the bicycle on steroids which cradles a massive silver engine in its frame. One-by-one and two or three at a time, everyone wanted to take turns sitting on the bike. The boys wanted to reach to grab the handle bars. They had to be restrained from grabbing the throttle. Most of them made gurgling and vroom, varoom noises. The girls, perched atop the leather seat, would fuss when their turn was over. Getting back in line for another turn was allowed. All were attended by grateful parents who appreciated the hospitality. I hope that all of the pictures that were snapped will be treasured. Well, it was located at the Weekly’s “hospitality” tent after all.
At the end of the day, I sincerely felt restored myself after getting out and having such a good time. Of course there will be loafers and naysayers who look for excuses not to come to the park or to such events wherever and whenever they take place. My answer is, the couch potatoes have not helped to restore Avondale, Avondale park, those beautiful automobiles I saw or frankly any thing else. In contrast, those who participate are enjoying themselves and making a difference. Therefore, watch in the Weekly for future events in the park like Art in Avondale Park.