BAXTER SPRINGS — The Decades of Wheels car museum opening weekend had nearly everything a business opener could want.
Vendors lined the streets, big names were performing on a custom-built stage, helicopter rides were available, and millions of dollars worth of cars and motorcycles were on display at the museum and in the streets.
Everything except the weather. Cold, misty rain and low temperatures intermittently plagued the largely outdoors event all weekend, but it stopped neither the crowds or the performances.
People came from all over the area to see the vehicles and enjoy the music. Including 8 year old Jackson Wiggans who drove down from Fort Scott with his dad.
“I'm a car guy,” Jackson said as he admired one of the museums collection
Sara Owens said she came from Miami after hearing about the museum.
“I've been reading about it, and I have a 55 Chevy,” Owens said. “I just couldn't resist coming.”
According to vendor Twila Raymer, all those people who just couldn't resist were good for business.
“It’s been very good today,” she said as she sold a gentleman a pie. “It seems people like it a lot.”
The weekend was packed with entertainment with three nights of concerts, a car show, a motorcycle show, and visits from celebrities in the car industry. Movie replica cars sat on the corner, and a bus decorated with the Decade of Wheels logo cruised the streets.
Friday night classic rock band Grand Funk Railroad performed. Saturday saw the country music band Granger Smith with The Band Of Heathens and Reckless Kelly opening. Sunday night’s show featured John Kay and Steppenwolf.
The rain plagued the concerts at times delaying the Saturday show while crews worked to dry the stage and equipment. However, people braved the elements with lawn chairs and umbrellas.
One couple huddled under an umbrella during Saturday’s show and quipped that they were from Michigan and could handle a little rain. Others sought refuge under the VIP tent with heaters blazing, but still clapped and cheered along.
The Sunday show was particularly special for fans as it was Steppenwolf's last concert. Best known for songs like Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride the band has been a part of the rock world since the late 60’s.
The group took the stage to loud applause before confirming it would be their last show after 50 years of performing. The rain settled down as they began, allowing fans to enjoy the songs sans downpour.
Those attending the grand opening weekend said it went well despite the rain.
Ivy LeBlanc, the niece of the owner of the museum who wishes to remain unnamed, said that she is proud of her aunt.
“We're so proud of what our aunt has accomplished here,” LeBlanc said. “To put this here on Route 66, is definitely a big deal.
“Now people get to see cars like this, people from all over, not just here, can come enjoy them.”
More information on the Decades of Wheels Museum can be found on their website, www.decadesofwheels.com.