Museum Showing, Shining Cars and More

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum in Stevenson will be hosting its 22nd annual Show & Shine Car Show & Swap Meet on Saturday. Gates open at 9 a.m. for participants and the show runs from noon to 4 p.m. (Submitted photos)

Staff and volunteers at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum in Stevenson are gearing up for their 22nd annual Show & Shine Car Show & Swap Meet on Saturday, Sept. 1.

“We had just over 20 cars at our first show,” chuckled Rob Peterson. “Last year we had more than 130 cars registered and more than 1,000 visitors voting for their favorites.”

Second, only to the annual auction and dinner, the car show is a major fundraiser for the museum.

“The fee to enter a car is just $20,” said Peterson, “and there is no charge for spectators. There will be a food booth with great burgers, dogs, barbecue pork sliders, and even strawberry dessert. We also will be raffling off a lot of nice items donated by local businesses, ranging in value from $10 to over $100.”

Gates will open at 9 a.m. for participants, with the show running from noon to 4 p.m. There will be an auto-oriented swap meet on the grounds, with each space costing $20.

50/50 tickets will be sold, with the winner taking home half the earnings. Last year’s winner pocketed more than $180.00

Peterson, who has been the chief organizer for all 21 previous shows, said that the first 150 entrants will receive a goody bag including a dash plaque for their car. Awards will be presented in 20 categories, ranging from the top prize of People’s Choice - Best of Show, to Participants’ Choice and Best Car Club Participant.

“People really seem to enjoy the interactive aspect of our show,” said Peterson. “It’s competitive but in a very fun way.”

He noted that the Gorge Cruisers have, quite possibly, won the Best Club Participant every year since the show’s inception.

He was quick to laud local businesses. “We could not pull this off without the generosity of businesses up and down the Gorge. They give us the raffle items but they also sponsor the trophies and some even chip in cash to help us cover expenses.”

Volunteers are still needed in several areas, including the food booth (food handlers card needed), parking cars and at the registration table. Please call the museum to volunteer.

For a rural area with relatively low population, Skamania County boasts a lot of hobbyists who restore old cars, said Peterson.

“One of my favorite things about the show is seeing the cars that turn out that we’ve never seen before. A couple years ago we even had a restored WWII half-track from Carson, which the owners drove over the Carson Ridge to get here so they could stay off Highway 14. And it was gorgeous. Almost everyone attending loved it!”

Peterson also enjoys seeing the people who are maybe just a visitor to the museum for the day take the time to walk through and reminisce about cars they have owned and enjoyed, along with the newly finished cars and trucks, for some, in fact, it might be their first outing.

“Each year we enjoy getting to visit with the guest who registers a car or maybe drives quite a distance to buy parts from the swap meet, and support the museum in that way,” he said.

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum is located at 990 SW Rock Creek Drive in Stevenson. For more information call 509-427-8211. see us at

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