News - Kane County

Geneva approves special events of Concours d’Elegance, Thriller on 38

Car show marks 18th year in Geneva’s downtown

GENEVA – Geneva aldermen on Aug. 1 approved two special events, the Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 28 and the Vargo’s Dance Thriller on 38 on Oct. 13.

This is the 18th year for the Concours d’Elegance, which began in 2004. It will have 160 to 180 car participants, 120 car club participants and expects 15,000 attendees, according to the application.

The event is held along South Third Street from State to South streets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with cleanup to be completed by 6 p.m.

“Concours is a well-known community tradition,” City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said.

“Public admission is free for this event, with a donation to benefit the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center,” Dawkins said.

Third Ward Alderman Dean Kilburg said the late alderman Paul DesCouteaux was involved in starting the event.

John Barrett, who organizes the event with his wife, Patricia, said DesCouteaux and a couple of other people were involved.

“The very first year we were in the parking lot at the courthouse,” Barrett said. “And the following year, the city allowed them to use the streets and it’s grown from there.”

Kilburg thanked him for hosting the event.

“It’s very well-attended. It’s an incredible display of auto engineering to reminisce,” said. “It’s quite a day. I look forward to being there in a few weeks.”

Barrett said there will be five special features at the Concours d’Elegance this year, one of them recognizing this as the 100th year for 1921 Rolls Royce cars made in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Also featured will be Lincoln Continentals, which began manufacturing in 1940, Barrett said.

“We started out by looking for the Mark series of Continentals. The first was a Mark 2 in 1956 – an enormous, long car with a hood that looks like it’s 10 feet long,” Barrett said.

Also this year are micro-mini cars, less than 700cc engines, usually built by Eastern-bloc countries “because they had to use what they had available,” Barrett said.

“We are having a feature of classic-era cars. That’s generally a thing from the ’20s and ’30s,” Barrett said. “They are considered classics by the Classics Car Club of America.”

Also to encourage young people’s interest in becoming car hobbyists, Barrett said, they found there was a lot of interest in what are known as “tuner cars.”

“Usually they’re Japanese, not always,” Barrett said. “They’re not expensive cars and they can do a lot of work on them to increase the performance of the engine because a side part of this is a thing called ‘drifting.’ You’ve probably seen some videos of that. They have amazing car control when driving them.”

Barrett said a better understanding would be to look at the “Fast and Furious” movies, which feature examples of tuner cars.

Mayor Kevin Burns asked what was the highest valued car featured at the event.

Barrett said it was the Duesenberg that was featured last year, which cost about $5 million.

“They’re very, very rare, very sought after,” Barrett said.

“We just absolutely love the event,” Burns said. “It is extraordinarily well done. And we’re very proud of both of you, of course, and the volunteers you amass year in and year out.”

Barrett thanked the city for its support.

“This event takes the efforts of so many people – as they say a village – and the city is part of that village,” Barrett said. “We could not do it without all of you.”

This is the fourth year for Vargo’s Dance, 205 W. State St., to host a dance performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on Second Street between Route 38 and Hamilton Street.

Dawkins said the event requires the closure of a portion of Second Street north of State Street and south of Hamilton Street. It includes food and the sale of nonalcoholic beverages.

It will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 13, with a rain date of Oct. 20, according to the application.

Local restaurants and food trucks will be available, according to the application from Jamie Vargo.

According to the application, two vendors are booked so far. All Chocolate Kitchen will sell hot cocoa and the Grumpy Gaucho will have a food truck.