Rockin’ Rods to take over the streets of downtown Rochester

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 2, 2017


ROCHESTER — Downtown Rochester will soon be bustling with classic and custom cars when nearly 400 vehicles roll into town Aug. 13.

This year’s Rockin’ Rods n’ Rochester car show will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, on Walnut Boulevard, between University and Second streets, in downtown Rochester.

“Especially when the weather is cooperative, we probably get a few thousand people to the show,” said Celia Domalewski, who organizes the show for the Rochester Lions Club.

“People love being in downtown Rochester, parking on the street, and walking to the restaurants and looking at the cars. It’s a really nice venue,” added Bill Claussen, who co-chairs the car show with Domalewski.

The show, which organizers bill as the “Dream Cruise Warm Up,” typically draws over 3,000 spectators hoping to get a sneak peek of vehicles before they hit the streets for the Woodward Dream Cruise Aug. 19.

“It really kicks off Dream Cruise week. … A lot of people come to this and use this as their first event,” Claussen said. “We have people coming from Tennessee, Rhode Island, Arizona — all over.”

Now in its 18th year, Rockin’ Rods invites eventgoers to feast their eyes on over 350 cars, including hot rods, classics, muscle cars, Corvettes, sports cars, specialty vehicles, trucks, traditional rods, street rods and vintage cars.

Domalewski said the show offers the public a chance to see a piece of history.

“Rockin’ Rods encourages cars of all ages. We do get some newer vehicles as well, so it’s an interesting way to do a comparison of the old to the new,” she said.

Prizes will be awarded in various categories — including Best of Show, Pride of the Lions and Pick of the Litter, as well as for Best Paint, Best Interior, Best Engine, Furthest Distance in State and Furthest Distance Out of State — at 3:30 p.m., and the show will go on rain or shine.

The event also features automotive art, live music, a 50-50 raffle, posters, T-shirts, food and a raffle for a 2017 Ford Mustang convertible to benefit the remodeling of the kennels at the Leader Dogs for the Blind facility in Rochester Hills. Only 750 tickets are being sold for the raffle at $100 each, and the drawing will be held at 4 p.m. during the event.

Proceeds from the car show will benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind, the group’s primary charity.

“Every dime we raise goes back,” Claussen said. “We have no brick and mortar, we have no salaries, so other than the cost of the event, there is no expenses.”

For more information about the Rockin’ Rods n’ Rochester car show, visit