Rockin’ Rods car show cruises into Rochester Aug. 10

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 30, 2014

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Lions Club’s Rockin’ Rods n’ Rochester car show drives thousands into downtown each year, and organizers expect this year to be no exception.

The annual show, which will be held Aug. 10, typically draws between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators anxious to get a sneak peek of a variety of vehicles before they hit the streets for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

“We generally have several thousand spectators,” said event chairman Bill Claussen. “If the weather is good, of course, we get more people.”

During the 15th annual event — which organizers bill as the Dream Cruise Warm-up — around 400 custom cars, hot rods, classics, muscle cars, corvettes, sports cars, specialty vehicles, trucks, traditional rods, streetrods, and vintage cars and motorcycles will be on display 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 10 along Walnut, from University to Second Street, in downtown Rochester.

“This is the week before the Dream Cruise, and this show is known as the Dream Cruise Warm-up, so we’ll get a lot of people who come in for the week leading up to the show. … We draw people from all over. I think the farthest we’ve had was a car that drove from Arizona,” Claussen added. “People will see some workmanship, craftsmanship and some unique cars — cars that you don’t see every day — and it’s a lot of fun. It’s good family fun.”

Prizes will be awarded in various categories — including Best of Show, Pride of the Lions, Leader Dogs Pick of the Litter and Best Paint, Best Interior and Best Engine — at 3:30 p.m., and the show will go on rain or shine.

“This particular show gets a huge variety of cars,” said Celia Domalewski, a member of the Rochester Lions Club. “For the older generation, it brings back great memories, and for the younger generation, it’s great for them to see what truly are works of art.”

In addition to the car show, the event features a DJ, a 50/50 raffle, posters, T-shirts, and the Rochester Lions Club Food Wagon — which will be stocked with ice cream, pop, hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones and other tasty treats.

“It takes 30-40 Lions, working hard all day, to put this show on,” Claussen explained. “It’s a large task. It takes a lot of hours and a lot of manpower to put it on, and we’re fortunate we have a club that’s big enough to do it.”

Proceeds from the car show will benefit the Leader Dogs for the Blind, the group’s primary charity. Founded by three Detroit-area Lions Club members in 1939, Leader Dogs for the Blind provides guide dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired “to enhance their mobility, independence and quality of life.”

The Rochester Lions are holding a raffle for a 2015 Mustang GT to benefit the remodeling of the kennels at the Leader Dogs for the Blind facility in Rochester. Claussen said only 700 $100 tickets will be sold, and the drawing will be held at next year’s Rockin Rods n’ Rochester Aug. 9, 2015. 

“There are good odds,” he added.

To enter into the Rockin’ Rods n’ Rochester car show, call (248) 651-4155 or visit