1965 Ford Galaxie 500

This year, the car featured on the dash plaque is a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500, owned by Cody Wilkinson of Bowling Green. Submitted photo

BOWLING GREEN—Come this Saturday, the town square will be filled with vendors, vintage cars and antique tractors for the 26th Annual Champ Clark Heritage Festival.

Last year’s festival had to be canceled because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in a crowded environment. The year before, 2019, throngs of people filled the downtown area for the Heritage Festival.

This year, early risers are welcome to enjoy a free pancake breakfast at the United Methodist Church, at 8 N Broadway Street. It will run from 7 – 9 a.m.

And that should give everyone plenty of time to get ready for the parade. Staging for the parade starts at 9 a.m. in the Bowling Green High School parking lot. At 10 a.m. the parade will start down Adams Street and then head north on S. Court Street. In year’s past, people lined the streets to see the floats and cheer on our local athletes, first responders and notable citizens.

The festival is held annually on the second Saturday in September. Be prepared, because the downtown square is shut down to traffic and fenced off for the numerous local food and craft vendors, a car and tractor show sponsored by the Bowling Green Lions Club, and fun things to do for the kids. Part of S. Court Street will also be blocked off for the Paint the Street competition. See the full list of events at the end of this article. The festival runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (See Car and Truck Show article on this page.)

Schedule of Events:

7 – 9 a.m.— Free pancake breakfast at the United Methodist Church.

9 a.m. Car & truck show—Sponsored by Bowling Green Lions Club.

9 a.m. Vintage tractors, cars, stationary motors display—Sponsored by the Vintage Machinery Club.

9 a.m. – noon Pike-Lincoln Quilt Guild Heritage Quilt Show—Inside the Community State Bank.

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Pike County Genealogical Society free museum tours.

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Craft Vendors & Exhibitors.

9 a.m. Parade line up begins at the Bowling Green High School. There will be an award for the best float. No registration required.

10 a.m. Parade begins, featuring grand marshals Rhonda Stumbaugh, 2020 Citizen of the Year and Ryan Bibb, 2019 Citizen of the Year.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Kids Corner—a fun-filled area for children.

11 a.m. – noon Visit the Bubble Bus.

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Paint the Street Contest. Bring your inner artist out and pour it on to the street.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Food court is open.

1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Food BINGO!


Bowling Green Lions Club hosts 2021 Car and Truck Show


As part of the Champ Clark Heritage Festival, the 2021 Car and Truck Show will be on Sept. 11, 2021, on the north side of the square.

It is hosted by the Bowling Green Lions Club, and proceeds go to Lions Club projects, which include services for the blind and visually impaired.

Car show registration will be on the north side of the town square from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The cost of registration is $20. Although cars will not be judged for trophies, six participants will be randomly drawn for $50 cash prizes. In addition, there will be one People’s Choice Award, which is $100 cash. Car owners and enthusiasts are encouraged to enjoy a relaxed and have a fun day at the Heritage Festival car show.

Each year there is a dash plaque given away to the entrants of the show. This year, the car featured on the dash plaque is a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500, owned by Cody Wilkinson of Bowling Green. The car was originally purchased in Montgomery City, Mo. It was then sold to Pike County residents Al and Marjorie Grote in 1967. They owned the car the largest part of its life.  Their children learned to drive in the Galaxie, and said they have fond memories of it.

Bowling Green residents may remember seeing Al tow his lawn mower on a little trailer around town with the Ford. The car was originally red with a white top, but at some point, the Grote’s had it painted solid red by local body man Earl “Smitty” Smith.

In 2018, Wilkinson became owner and wanted to restore it to its original red and white colors.  Cody worked on the car along with his grandfather, Larry Moore, and his dad, Rich Wilkinson, in Fred’s Auto Sales shop, which is owned by Larry. Larry worked his magic, acquired from working nearly 60 years in the body shop business.

He made the Ford’s body straight and many hours were spent block sanding and priming before Larry was ready to spray a bright shiny layer of Rangoon Red on the body with Wimbledon White on the roof.

The motor and transmission were worn out after 130,000 miles of service, so those items were replaced, as well. The interior was faded from many years of sun. Cody decided he would like a custom interior, but did not want to give up the character of the interior trim that Ford Motor Co. had put there originally. Randy Brown of Randale’s Upholstery in Bowling Green was given the job of making this happen by incorporating the various buttons in the seats, and chrome door panel trim. The Galaxie now sports a striking red and white custom vinyl interior with a Ford Galaxie emblem stitched into the package tray in the rear.

The bugs are still being worked out of the 56-year-old Ford Galaxie, but Cody enjoys riding around in the big cruiser and listening to the sound of the 289-cubic-inch-motor cackling through dual glass packs. It was a labor of love for family and for the car. No doubt there will be many more memories made in this 1965 Ford in the coming years.

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