It’s a Classic! DPA Car Show Echoes Goodyear Event

by Mary Nita Bondurant-  

Discovery Park Car Show1In 1986, Tennessee beat Miami in the 52nd annual Sugar Bowl, the 24th space shuttle was launched, Arnold Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Union City had its first car show. Twenty-two years later, in 2008, Fidel Castro retired as President of Cuba, Madonna got a divorce, Charlton Heston died at 84, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Union City hosted its final car show. The show had grown annually and had become a major attraction in northwest Tennessee for car enthusiasts. And, so, it was missed.

Roll forward to 2015. There’s another major attraction in northwest Tennessee bringing thousands of people on weekends and hundreds of thousands of people annually—Discovery Park of America and it stands to change the landscape of this small rural community. As a tribute to the many car enthusiasts in the area, and perhaps partly to fill a bit of the void leftIMG_5392-HDR when the local car show ended, planners of Discovery Center added a Transportation Gallery as one of nine major galleries inside the center. The Transportation Gallery showcases automobiles dating as far back as 1910 (a Brush car on loan by the Woods’ family) and as new as a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the last car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove for Budweiser. This popular gallery brings back lots of memories to Discovery Park guests. It is not unusual to hear folks reminiscing about automobiles that “look like the one I grew up Discovery Park Car Show2riding in.” Or someone might say the 1957 Chevy is like the one that they “had their first date in.” Some of the more popular automobiles in the gallery include a 1929 Lincoln, a 1957 Thunderbird, a 1965 Shelby Cobra, and a 1968 Shelby Mustang. But everyone has their own personal favorite, and the Transportation Gallery is one of the most photographed galleries at Discovery Park.

Still, Jim Rippy, CEO of Discovery Park and longtime Union City leader was not quite satisfied. “I want to bring back the caliber car show that Union City had when it had the Goodyear Car Show,” he said. So, in 2015, just a little over a year after the park opened, Rippy called together a group of park employees to discuss bringing back a big, annual car show, “like the one they use to have at Goodyear.” And the spark was lit. Transportation Gallery Docents Greg Dunn and Jeff Davis were willing to take the wheel and help get the car show on the right track, as both of these local Union City guys had been involved in the Goodyear Car Show. The first car show was better than park officials expected, with over 250 vehicles on display. It was a fun filled day with BBQ smoke filling the air and over 3,500 in attendance.

Park officials were pumped, and the decision was made to continue an annual car show at Discovery Park. Right now, wheels are turning to make sure that the second Annual Car Show, scheduled for Saturday, June 25, is even better than the first. Entry forms are available online or at the park, and planners are hoping for 300 or more cars this year. According to Rippy, the car show is a big, big deal with many hours of planning and the involvement of practically every department at Discovery Park. The cars will be on display on the main parking lots at Discovery Park, which causes people who come out for the day to get to park “behind the scenes” on the access road around Discovery Park. So, entrance to the 50 acres of outside grounds, gardens, and exhibits is free on car show day. Plans are for a fun and festive day, with great food, door prizes and lots of cars, all spit and polished and bringing back memories for people of every generation.

Anyone with a car or truck who wants to display it can register on line, or all the way up to the day of the show. Discovery Park of America’s Event Director, Lauren Jones will be on hand, as well as Greg and Jeff and a whole host of other DPA employees to help everyone get parked in the appropriate spot and make sure the day runs smoothly. The gates will open for the cars at 8:00 a.m., with the public welcome to arrive at 10:00 and trophies awarded at 3:30.

Discovery Park Car Show3So, you might just say it’s back. Things change. Life is full of twists and turns, but when something is good, it should continue. The Goodyear Car Show was good. It was good for Union City. And, so, it continues, not as the Goodyear Car Show, but as the Discovery Park of America Car Show. This year’s second annual show is sponsored by Herman Jenkins Motors in Union City. And, just as sure as the Kentucky Derby occurs on the first Saturday in May, there will be a car show the last Saturday in June in Union City.

Discovery Park of America is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN. The complete 2016 Calendar of Events, including upcoming educational and entertaining events, is online at The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.