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Car is King weekend pays tribute to museum founder

Auto enthusiasts to gather

Maryhill Museum of Art's founder, Sam Hill, would surely be smitten with the museum's annual Car is King Weekend.

As one of the Northwest's first and most vocal advocates for modern roads, Hill was president of the Washington State Good Roads Association and spent much of his life championing the importance of highways in the Northwest.

On Oct. 2 and 3, today's auto enthusiasts will gather at Maryhill to celebrate cars past and present with a range of activities, including: an open car show with classic, hot rod and muscle cars, children's veggie car races, and, what many consider the highlight of the show -- vintage race cars competing in a timed climb up the historic Maryhill Loops Road.

The first macadam asphalt-paved surface in the Pacific Northwest, Maryhill Loops Road features 25 curves -- eight of them hairpin.

In 1913 Sam Hill convinced the Oregon governor and legislature to visit Maryhill and see the 10 miles of demonstration roads that he had constructed, at his own expense, to experiment with road building techniques and surfaces.

That visit led to the realization of the Columbia River Highway, which Hill envisioned as "...a great highway so that the world can realize the magnificence and grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge." When it was finished in 1916, the highway was described as an engineering masterpiece.

Inspired by that success, Hill pushed for the construction of the Pacific Highway (Highway 99, the main north-south route through Oregon and Washington), Highway 101 along the coast, and a road to scenic Crater Lake.

Admission to Car is King Weekend, which takes place on the grounds of Maryhill Museum of Art, is free.


Saturday, Oct. 2

Concours de Maryhill, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum's east lawn is transformed into the Concours de Maryhill with dozens of classic, sport and customized cars on view, competing for prizes such as best original, classic, hot rod and muscle car. This is an open car show and anyone with a special car may enter. The day concludes with the presentation of the car show awards. Organized by the Goldendale Motorsports Association.

Public Drive the Maryhill Loops Road, noon to 2 p.m.

In honor of Sam Hill, the historic Maryhill Loops Road will be opened for automobiles and the public is invited to take a spin down this majestic byway -- one of the first modern roads in the Northwest.

Family Fun: Classic Veggie Car Races, 1 to 3 p.m.

Join in the fun at the 7th annual Classic Veggie Car Races just for kids. Children can put their ingenuity to work transforming humble veggies into fantastically engineered cars and race them on a 12 foot ramp for thrills and chills. Kids of all ages are invited to participate in this fun outdoor activity. Races start at 1 p.m. On Family Fun days children under 17 are admitted to the museum free all day with one paid adult museum admission. Sponsored by Sound Rider.

Sunday, October 3:

Maryhill Loops Hill Climb, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vintage sports cars from the 1930s to 1960s race singly in a three-mile timed race up the historic Maryhill Loops Road. Spectators can view the hill climb race from the Highway 97 Overlook and from designated viewpoints along the race route. Organized by the Society of Vintage Racing Enthusiasts of Seattle; only approved cars and drivers will be competing.


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