The show must go on!
When Jay started thinking about who he knew that had a real passion for cars he couldn't help but approach "Big" Al. When Jay asked Al if he would help with the organizing of the show "Big" Al jumped at the opportunity. The premise for the show would be to include St John cars, trucks, motorcycles, dune buggies, etc. and find a location that would attract the most visitors.
The show involves locals, tourists and most of all the young people. Expanding to include St Thomas was important and in 2017, we invited St Croix and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
The first year (2015) Al and Jay had the help of The St John Festival Committee in locating and organizing the event. The St John Festival Committee are the organizers of St John Festival (carnival) every year and have experience with large events. Winston Wells Ball Field in Cruz Bay was selected because it is convenient for St Thomas and the larger Cruz Bay population however the field became crowded with over 70 vehicles the first year.
The Second Annual Love City Car Show moved to the center of the island utilizing Chester's Getaway (local restaurant) and "The Landing" a St Johnian establishment founded for it's local crafts, food and culture. Again, the space proved to be tight and with the Labor Day rain participation was down.
For the Third Annual Love City Car Show (2017), the venue has been moved across the island to the Coral Bay Ball Field where there will be space for over 300 vehicles. St John Festival Committee hosts a Labor Day Parade and other family oriented activities in Coral Bay every year. So the decision was made to share the field and add some more attractions to the Labor Day Event with the help of the Love City Annual Car Show.
The Virgin Islands suffered two category five hurricanes only two weeks apart, Hurricane Irma September 6 and Hurricane Maria September 20th, 2017. Two days before Irma struck St John with over 200 mph wind gusts, we were on the Coral Bay field celebrating our Third Annual Car Show. It was a huge success considering so many were preparing for the oncoming hurricane. While we are still recovering from the storms the Fourth Annual will be a celebration of gratitude.
It is 2018 and time for the Fourth Annual Car Show. The number of vehicles was down about 10% but attendance was up by more than 20%. Many vehicles were damaged in the hurricanes and rebuilding roofs and houses was a priority over repairs to the cars. Our donations to St John's Youth Organizations continues to grow thanks to our many sponsors.
2019 and we are preparing for the Fifth Annual Love City Car Show. It is 2019 and there are still many homes unfinished or abandoned, but many new cars and trucks are coming out to "show off". We look forward to our best ever show with plans already in the works for the 6th that will truly be amazing and a trend setter.
2020 and the world was on lock down due to the Covid Pandemic. Love City Car Show was just what the Doctor ordered. But the local government said not to large events and gatherings. So no 2020 show. But we do not give up.
2021 and yup the pandemic was raging on. The Virgin Islands has done well managing our lives, business and recreational activities but again we were not allowed to hold our annual show. Al and Jay planned two shows in a row with flyers, trophies and logistics only to have to postpone again.
2022 Al and Jay have made the decision to hold a Father's Day Car Show on the Coral Bay Field Saturday June 18, 2022.
LABOR DAY 2022 The Father's Day Show was great. The cars were there (75) warming up for the BIG Labor Day Show Monday September 5, 2022. We have made arranges with the barge companies and have confirmed St Croix is sending 10 of their best vehicles. They sayt hey are going to give St John and St. Thomas a beating. There will be a DJ, food and drink for sale. And of course the Hot Wheels race track and the Hot Wheels cars for kids under 12. We have added plenty of activities for the kids. We have two remote control cars that under 10 year olds can drive in. Corn hole and face painting.
Our Back Story
An Idea was born
"Big" Al Smith a native St Johnian has always had a passion for cars. He has way too many sitting in his garage, car port, under tents and in the driveway! Al loves finding and restoring all sorts of vehicles. His trophy winning 1975 Camaro was inherited from his Grandfather on St Croix. He shipped it off to the states and had it fully restored from the frame up. It is truly is a winner. Al met Jay Swartley when Jay and his wife Athena moved to St John 15 years ago.
Jay has owned some nice cars over the years but living on St John and being in construction he now has a pickup! Because Jay works in construction he met and works with a St Thomian named Steve Joseph who operates a backhoe. Steve shared many stories with Jay over the years. He spoke of growing up on St Thomas and being involved with cars, racing and restoring bugs (Volkswagen Beetles), Steve's specialty.
Steve often said to Jay how being involved with cars as a youth kept him out of trouble and gave him an opportunity to apply himself to something he really loved. This gave Jay the idea that with Al's help they could hold a car show on St John (known locally as Love City). The show would attract many car owners throughout the Virgin Islands who work hard to locate vehicles that can be restored or modified to true show pieces. The car show provides a venue to display them while attracting and involving the youth and car enthusiasts.
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