Dayton History event offers a festive, one-of-a-kind experience

Family-friendly event features grand classic cars plus 50th anniversary of Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is celebrated.

One hundred nineteen. 119. CXIX, in Roman numerals.

That’s the span in years of the vehicles slated to be on display during the 13th annual Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Historical Park.

The oldest will be an 1899 De Dion Boutin II motorbike, the newest a 2018 Ferrari.

The concours, set for Sunday, Sept. 15, is a glorious display of 200 antique and classic automobiles, motorcycles and scooters that will be judged for awards in 24 classes. The public is invited to enjoy roaming the 65-acre park grounds to view the vehicles, plus visit the many intriguing and fully staffed history exhibits. Despite its fancy name, the concours is a casual, family-friendly occasion with entertainment for all.

“We have studied our space and have learned that 200 cars is the perfect number for us – so there’s room to make it a great experience for both spectators and entrants,” said Skip Peterson, show chairperson. “It will be a little more open this year to make it easier to move around and appreciate everything. We will have good flow and we’re happy about that.”

Featured this year will be grand classic cars like Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Packard, Cadillac, Bentley and more, plus the 50th anniversary of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am will be celebrated. All the vehicles will be nestled among the park’s numerous buildings, with soaring shade trees enhancing the setting.

“The concours is a display of unique, classic and soon-to-be-classic cars that are there by invitation only and are judged in groups with like vehicles,” said Mike Edgerton, concours director. “It’s an opportunity for spectators to not only look at the cars, but talk to the owners. They also can visit the many historical displays in the buildings in the park.

“I just want everyone to enjoy themselves and tell their family, friends and neighbors what a good time they had,” he said.

Another aspect of the event is the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild reunion during which hand-built model cars will be shown in the Dicke Transportation Center in the park. Guildsmen from across the country will display concept car models they built as teenagers in the 1950s and ’60s as entries in a General Motors-sponsored contest of that era.

Live entertainment, an automotive art pavilion, a variety of local food vendors at a food court and soft drinks and adult beverages will be featured.

The parade of class-winning cars, motorcycles and major award winners will be presented at 3 p.m.

All proceeds from the weekend go to Dayton History, Montgomery County’s official historical organization, to underwrite educational programs for thousands of people including schoolchildren, and to maintain facilities. The event is presented by AAA Miami Valley, with major support from WinSupply and TJH Collections.

“The concours is a great way for people to enjoy the vehicles while they learn more about Dayton,” said Lauryn Bayliff, Dayton History’s director of community development. “It’s a wonderful event that draws people in.”

Peterson is quick to credit the 100-plus dedicated volunteers, including 22 on the concours committee, 40 class hosts, 52 class judges, multiple Boy Scouts who assist with parking and the many Dayton History interpreters and volunteer workers who make the event possible.

“The event comes alive Sunday morning and everyone knows what to do,” he said. “They just do it and it helps us dramatically as we raise needed funds.”

Associated events

The weekend will kick off Saturday, Sept. 14 with a special edition of Dayton Cars and Coffee. This morning gathering, which is free and open to any car and draws hundreds of vehicles, will take place in the parking lot of the park’s Carillon Brewing Co. from 8 to 11 a.m.

Saturday evening will be a casual preview party from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. with a jazzy New Orleans theme; it is open to the public and will feature food by Brock Masterson’s Catering with a NOLA influence, paired with premium wine, craft beer, spirits and specialty bourbons. Tickets are $85 for Dayton History members and $95 for non-members. For preview tickets and more information, call 937-293-3841.

How to go

Sunday, Sept. 15, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., grounds of Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton. General concours admission is $25 at the door, or $20 in advance, $10 for children 17-3; children younger than 3 and members of Dayton History are free. Free parking is onsite, with free overflow parking across the street at the University of Dayton River campus; RTA shuttle buses will run a continuous schedule. Go online to or call 937-293-2841 for more information.

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