Cool cars gather for hot time downtown

Hot Chili, Cool Cars event Sept. 15
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What started as a solo trip to Rocklin’s annual Hot Chili & Cool Cars event has turned into a big-time family event for the Nortons. Four years ago Bill Norton, Jr. entered his classic car in the street show. The following year he talked his cousin, Skip Michaud, into joining him at the event. Not to be outdone, Bill Norton, Sr. joined the group the following year. This year, brother, Blair Norton, will tag along. Each of the family members will be entering their prized beauties in the classic car contest on Saturday, Sept. 15 along Pacific Street. Bill Sr. has chosen to show off his 1936 Ford. Bill Jr. will showcase his 1948 Plymouth and brother Blair will rumble in with his 1931 Ford. Skip Michaud will round out the foursome with his classic muscle car, a 1969 Camaro. “We keep coming back for the entertainment and the fun atmosphere at Hot Chili & Cool Cars,” said Bill Norton, Jr. “Our favorite part of the event is the Boy Scout breakfast. We go every year. And we love to visit all of the booths and then finish up at the chili booths. There is no end to how much chili you can eat!” Also planning to show off her recently restored ’67 Camaro will be Bunnie O’Hara. The 84-year-old Lincoln resident has been driving this classic for the last 45 years. For decades this Camaro was O’Hara’s mode of transportation to her night shift nursing job. Dressed in her nursing uniform, O’Hara met her fair share of CHP officers on the freeways, but never got a ticket. She has always been partial to Camaros, and she thinks the original Camaro still looks the best. For a long time she has talked about getting the Camaro “fixed up” and over the past year her dream came true. Her oldest son, Shawn, took the car back to Southern California where it underwent a full transformation. Now back in Sun City Lincoln, the Camaro has been transformed from a tired white to Viper Red. The interior has been redone, the engine has been fully rebuilt, with headers and a medium cam and an Elderbrock four-barrel carburetor. To complete the package, the suspension was updated and fancy new wheels and tires were added. In all, about 200 of the coolest pre-1973 classic cars will be lining Pacific Street throughout the festival. At the other end of the street, about 30 chili cooks will be preparing their specialties as well as decorating booths in Chili Alley in hopes of winning one of several awards. Festival attendees will have an opportunity to select the People’s Choice recipient. To participate, festival attendees will be able to purchase sample kits, at $5 each, starting at 11 a.m. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the kits will benefit the Matthew Redding Scholarship Foundation. Long-time chili booth entrants Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ and Kozoku Teriyaki & More have already claimed their booths for this year’s event and will be joined by newcomer Burgess Brothers Burgers. This year, three local businesses have stepped up as title sponsors, including returning sponsors R.C. Willey and Five Star Auto Care and new addition, Western Placer Waste Management Authority. McDonald’s and Minuteman Press are sponsoring the Kid’s Coloring Contest, while McDonald’s also returns as the Performance Square sponsor and Kniesel’s Auto Collision Center returns as the T-shirt sponsor.