The Rhinebeck Car Show Is a Haven for Car Enthusiasts

This May, the Rhinebeck Car Show will feature hot rods, race cars, antiques, and more at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.

Since the early 1970s, the Rhinebeck Car Show has wowed locals and car enthusiasts from all over New York State with antique automobiles and souped-up rides at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. What started as a small gathering at a Rhinebeck Ford dealership has evolved into a momentous event that attracts hundreds of cars and thousands of people to the show annually. This year, as the show celebrates its 52nd year running, Rhinebeck will also be celebrating 60 years of one of the most influential cars in history, the Ford Mustang.

Presented by the Hudson River Valley Antique Auto Association, the Rhinebeck Car Show runs from May 3 to May 5, with different events headlining each day. On Friday afternoon, car collectors from all over the Northeast can engage in a swap meet, during which time vendors will trade auto-related items or services. The car shows begin in earnest on Saturday, during which time anyone and everyone who wishes to display their car can come and compete to win an award in over 30 categories. Saturday’s show is devoted to hot rods, street rods, customs, race cars, and compact customs or pickups.

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On Sunday, spectators can get ready for the main event as the Mustang celebration commences. Originally debuting in 1964, the Ford Mustang has since become an iconic piece of American pop culture. Along with Mustang models from 1964 to 2024 and Shelbys from all over the country, Sunday’s show will feature unmodified, antique, and classic vehicles manufactured up to 1998. Team Shelby, the club that American automotive designer Carroll Shelby personally founded, will also be in attendance at the Sunday show. Shelby was known for his involvement in the design of the 1965 Mustang GT350.

Sunday’s Mustang celebration, sponsored by Ruge’s Ford of Rhinebeck, will be a fundraiser for both the Carroll Shelby Foundation and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which directly supports American veterans. Spectators and competitors can take part in a 50/50 raffle, raffles for auto-related items, and auctions for special items from Ford. Also, during the celebration, retired New York firefighter Bob Sapienza, who serves as a peer counselor for the Bureau of Health Services Counseling Services Unit, will be onsite representing the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and fielding questions.

 

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Although many of the vehicles at the Rhinebeck Car Show are highly anticipated, none are more so than “a mint condition 1964 Mustang that was actually at the New York World’s Fair,” says Mark Silverman, director of Team Shelby’s Hudson Valley chapter.

The Rhinebeck Car Show takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 4 and 5 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.

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