EBENSBURG - Classic cars, loud motorcycles and thousands of people lined the streets during the ninth annual Wheels and Wings event Thursday.
The event draws thousands to the area in what many consider to be a preview of the weekend festivities scheduled for Thunder in the Valley in nearby Johnstown.
For Ebensburg resident Ron Shingler and Ray Gabany of Summerhill, the event is a chance to see friends from out of town who make the trip to Ebensburg for the show.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Riders enter town looking for places to park their motorcycles on Center Street in?Ebensburg during the Wheels and Wings event.
"I look forward to this every year," Gabany said.
Seated between the chicken wing vendors and some of the classic cars lining North Center Street, Shingler said the event was a chance to reunite with friends from previous years and to take in the surroundings.
The pair have attended the event each year and look forward to similar motorcycle rallies in Nanty Glo, Richland and throughout the surrounding area, Gabany said.
"I just love this community," said Kim Springer, a local State Farm agent and exclusive sponsor of Wheels and Wings.
The event is family-friendly and draws visitors to area restaurants and businesses, Springer said.
"I just think it's a good event," Springer said. "I just love to see all the waves of people. I just get amazed at how it's grown."
Colver resident Nick Asashon said he has been attending Wheels and Wings since the event began.
Standing beside his 1971 Buick Riviera, Asashon said the event continues to be fantastic year after year.
His classic car's bright metallic red paint and a scale model of the car spinning on a small platform under the hood of his Riviera caught the eye of several passers-by.
The small model was repainted to perfectly match his car, Asashon said.
"That stops 'em, ya know?" Asashon said of the attention the model and his car attract.
For first-timers Chad Thompson, his wife, Kim, and their 11-year-old son, Lance, the event was a fun time.
"This is the first we've come up for this," Chad Thompson said.
The family from Ebensburg sampled some of the chicken wings featured in the wing competition.
"I'm surprised how many bikes are here," Chad Thompson said. "It's definitely bigger than I thought it would be."
Lance said for him the best part of the event was seeing the classic cars.
"I like Camaros," Lance said before digging into his cheese fries.
Precious Life, a pregnancy care ministry, took first prize in the wing competition.
Also first-timers at the event, the group's hot and sweet wings secured the win, Scott Manganella said.
"Good deal," he said after winning the first-prize ribbon. "Can't complain about that."
Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.