Newport, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — People and cars of all ages gathered this weekend in Newport to celebrate a tradition that spans back over 100 years.
The Newport Auto Hill Climb has been a staple in this area for over five decades where automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles make timed runs from a standing start, up a steep hill to a finish line 1,800 feet away.
This event is a fundraiser for the Newport Lions Club. Mike Laney is the president of the Newport Lions Club, and he explains how this tradition starts young in this area.
“I grew up in Newport, since about the 3rd grade, to me the Newport Hill Climb, you start in when you’re young, you start seeing things and the history of everything, and as we, as a town, you get into the history of the vehicles, but not only that, it helps you learn about your community and your town and the past and doing this with different generations, they hang out and they talk to each other,” said Laney.
Every year the town crowns an Antique Queen to be one of the faces of the festival. This year that honor went to Ellen Brown.
She expressed her love for this festival.
“It’s a great thing. We only have probably a mile long, and a half mile this way, it ends at the bridge, we only have about 500 people, and maybe even less than that now. It’s just seeing all these old cars and stuff. It’s not just the new cars, the older models, it’s these old things that you think can’t even make it up the hill,” said Brown.
This festival is something this town prepares for almost year-round. A festival of this magnitude for a town of this size is almost unheard of and it is a great way to get people together in the community.
Laney added that when it gets to the point of the year when the festival is coming up, it lifts the spirits of everyone in Newport.
“What makes this event special to me is that I grew up here. I was probably in the third grade going to school, we start seeing the banners go up and the pennings on the streets, you can start smelling the food cook, and it really gets into your heart and soul,” added Laney.