March 22 – 24, 2018
Cooper Riverside Park
The 2018 AACA Winter National Meet, hosted by the Deep South Region, was a grand celebration of Southern style. Mobile took the opportunity show off it’s rich 300 year history and define why it’s described as a City Born to Celebrate.
Puerto Rico was originally scheduled to host the 2018 meet. However, after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, the Region was forced to cancel. AACA approached the Deep South Region (DSR) to host the event in Mobile. The DSR decided, despite the fact there was less than 6 months to plan the event, to put together a full meet on March 22, 23 and 24.
Participants with and without trailers (or car) as well as some judges began to arrive as early as Monday the 19th. On Thursday the festivities started with a luncheon in the Wardroom of the USS Alabama. Shepherd’s pie and cheese cake were served. After lunch some guests toured the USS Alabama Battleship and USS Drum submarine. Many of us posed for a snapshot in the same spot that Nicholas Cage stood when filming the movie USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.
To display our true Southern fashion, the DSR hosted over 200 guests at an Ice Cream Social at the Henderson Collection on Thursday evening. It will be long remembered
. Seventy eight antique vehicles ranging from a 1911 Model T Speedster to a collection of eleven 1951 Fords are housed
in the collection. The 1951 ambulance and the 1949 bookmobile were quite popular. Most of the guests arrived expecting a little bit of ice cream. To their surprise they found hot dogs, shrimp gumbo, chicken salad sandwiches followed by more tables with banana pudding, peach cobbler and banana splits. Many people cancelled their dinner plans and stayed at the collection catching up with old friends and making new ones.
Friday morning started off with the first of three Trolley History Tours. Pick up and drop off took place at the host hotel. The tour lasted an hour and a half. Riders were regaled with the history of Mobile which is the birthplace of Mardi Gras. They learned why Mobile is called the City of Five Flags and were enlightened with information about the many wars fought in the area including the Civil War. Those on the tour also enjoyed Oliver, the tour guide’s dog.
In the afternoon, attendees were given the first chance to view the Silent Auction items. The Round Table Discussions followed and they were packed. Topic discussions included membership growth, youth opportunities, associate membership and hosting meets and tours. The Judging School followed immediately after the Round Tables.
Friday evening’s Southern Fried Chicken Dinner was held at the historic Battle House Crystal Ballroom. The Battle House Hotel was recently restored and shows off the rich Mardi Gras history of Mobile. The Grand Ballroom displays deep Southern style with ornate Mardi Gras murals and rich velvet curtains. Each table was filled with parade throws. The Merry Widows, all of whom claim to have been married to Joe Cain (who reinvigorated Mardi Gras after the Civil War) showed up before dinner and covered guests with beads and garters.
The showground was in Cooper Riverside Park which is on the Mobile River beside the Mobile Convention Center in downtown Mobile. Early Saturday morning over 100 cars entered the show field and began to line the waterfront. President Chuck Crane greeted each owner with a dash plaque and a big welcome to the meet. Participants made their way to their individual spots and commenced the final polish of their vehicles.
Mobile had the perfect weather for this meet with temperatures in the 70s and a cool breeze off the water. It was a pleasant day. Midmorning brought out the judges to begin the task of judging all the beautiful cars.
The Mayor of Mobile, Sandy Stimpson, came to the meet as he was asked to select his favorite vehicle.
After spending and hour and a half looking at cars and talking with owners Mayor Stimpson made his selection. He placed the Mayor’s trophy with the car. He also took time to take a photo of the car and send it to his wife, informing her he was buying a new family car.
Early afternoon a group of youngsters in blue shirts and red hats took on the challenge of learning how to judge vehicles. After a brief lesson they went out and talked to the owners and judged the cars and motorcycles in five areas. After 45 minutes the kids came back with their judging sheets. They then presented ribbons to their favorites.
At 3 pm, the Mobile Police Department rounded the show field and told all car owners to line up. With high fashion, the police blocked off traffic and escorted the parade of cars to trailer parking.
The awards banquet with all the awards lined up began with many thanks to the Deep South Region for taking on this event. The silent auction ended before dinner and everybody grabbed up their prizes before eating fantastic food.
When it came time to give out the trophies everybody was on pins and needles to see how they had fared. As the names were called and people went to get their award, you could see their smiles.
We at the Deep South Region are very proud to have hosted this event.
on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm.
No admittance fee
Deadline for Registration:
March 7, 2018 (Postmarked)
Written request received to
Registration Chairman by March 1, 2018.
The Admiral Hotel
BORN TO CELEBRATE!
Mobile has a certain magic that keeps you on your toes. Where a melting pot of people, flavors, cultures and traditions become one voice to lead all of life’s celebrations. Join the jubilee and welcome every day with an enduring passion and a little soulful hospitality, because life is the ultimate gift. This is the spirit of living. This is what we’re born to do.