July in upstate NY means Syracuse Nationals car show at the NY State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY. This show has become the biggest car show in the north east, with nearly 8000 entries gracing the huge fairgrounds.
Thursday night we headed up to Liverpool to get our passes and participant gifts handed out from The Right Coast, the show promoters. My son and I volunteered to work the show this year with our car club, the 7Valley Street Rods
We were part of the early crew, and I mean early. We got up at three and arrived at the show at 4:00am. I had to park in the Toyota building and then walk across the baron fairgrounds to work at gate 10. On Friday morning a ton of cars had already lined up to get into the grounds. I’m not sure how many, but there had to be 300 on the grounds. The gate didn’t open until 6am, so we had to gather the cars into a field two by two until the gates opened.
State fair Blvd was getting backed up with all the cars coming into Syracuse. This is why we had to line them up in the field to keep the road clear. It was a lot of fun seeing the stream of cars rolling in for the weekend. We got to see every car as it drove by us into the show area. For the most part the participants did a great job with their tickets and window stickers.
Saturday morning my son Cruz and I worked the tent area. This is the last stop for the cars before they go and find their favorite place to park. The cars would roll up two by two. We would check their windshield for the proper event sticker, and then we would punch their tickets for that day’s admission. The early shift was busy because the car owners wanted to get their favorite parking spot for the day. This made our shift go by fast, with all of the beutiful cars coming in. . It was a great time working with fellow car lovers at the nationals.
Sunday morning was pretty slow most of the day. I think a lot a people went home early after the two hot days in Syracuse. It was still busy at the show, but the numbers where way down.
Ok enough of that working talk lets get to the heart of the 2015 Syracuse Nationals, the cars. All I can say is WOW what a great show . It seems like every year the quality of the vehicles gets better and better. The builders of these master pieces are really using today’s technology to help them build these creations. They put all of the modern touches into the old school cars and trucks. It just makes sense. Use modern engines, tires, suspension and everything else available to build a modern day hot rod.
As I have said in past years, every time you think you have seen the best looking car ever, you turn the corner and see a better one. It is crazy how many beautiful machines there are at this show every year. The Right Coast guys do it right. They have a monster of a show on their hands for sure.
Last year I covered this show for Hotrods & Harley’s magazine. It was great seeing my images and show story spread acrossed 15 colorful pages of a worldwide publication. This year I had a new assignment, I was shooting for a brand new magazine called APEX Automotive Magazine. APEX Automotive Magazine .this is a local Free Magazine covering everything automotive in the Central NY area. Look for your free issue around Central NY, or go to their site and sign up to get them delivered to your front door.
After working my shift Friday morning I headed out onto the grounds to grab some shots before the place filled up with fans. It didn’t take long before the place was mobbed with people. For a Friday, the place was packed. This year I was shooting my Fuji X100t with a 23mm lens. This made it much easer getting the shot with all of the traffic through out the show.
During the day on Friday I was able to get some wonderful shots to use for APEX Magazine and, this blog. Later on in the day I ran into a couple long time friends of mine. Bill and Julie where walking around the show looking for some parts and accessories for their Chevy Nova. The Nationals is a great place to pick up some used parts, as well as brand new OEM like parts from a ton of vendors on the grounds. It was great spending the day with my friends looking at nice cars, and catching up with each other about everyday life.
After a long day Friday I headed south on rt 81 home for a shower and a bite to eat. I had to charge my batteries and get ready for another full day of shooting on Saturday. It was hot on Friday so some A/C and food felt good when I arrived home from the show.
Saturday my son and I woke up at 3:30 and headed back up to the Fairgrounds. When we arrived we had to drive across the fairgrounds to the Toyota building to park my 2010 Camaro for the day. I was allowed to park on the grounds all weekend as a volunteer, but I could not have my car outside on Friday and Saturday because it is to new for the show. 1980 and older is the vintage of cars and trucks on display at the Nationals.
Saturday morning the sky’s looked like rain, and the temps where in the 50’s. I think this kept people from arriving early in the morning. There where still cars in line but not like Friday morning. We started letting cars in at 6am. It was on and off for awhile while it was raining. As soon as the rain stopped and the sky’s cleared up the flow of traffic picked up pretty good for a couple hours. When my son and I walked acrosse the grounds at 4am the place was empty, but after our shift at 9am the place was full to the brim. It’s amazing how fast the place filled up after the sun came out. I heard that over 7500 entires graced the fairgrounds this year.
Saturday was another hot day with temps in the 90’s. My wife and daughter came up to join us for the day’s festivities at the show. We walked around looking at one beautiful car after another. Later on in the day my daughter had to go to work. Soon after that my wife and I meet up with friends of ours and we hung out with them the rest of the day. The ladies talked about grandkids, weddings, ect. and me and my friend Dave talked cars, paint jobs, and what car builders where doing these days to their Street Rods. It was fun checking out the show with friends. It seems like it has become a great place for my wife and I to meet up with friends for a day.
I was able to capture a ton of good shots on Saturday as well. It was a bit harder to do with the amount of people there, but still a great day of shooting. Again I needed to get home and cool off eat, and charge some batteries for day three of the Nationals. Getting up at 3:00am was starting to get to me.
Sunday morning came early for both me and my son Cruz, but we got up and headed north again. Sunday morning was a easy shift for us. There wasn’t a lot of cars in line and it was nice outside in Syracuse. We did our shift and headed out into the madness one last time. My sons girlfriend, my wife and daughter met up with us late morning for a nice stroll around the cars before the afternoon crowd arrived.
Along with the awesome Hotrods and Customs at the show, Sunday was muscle Car day as well. Cars newer than 1980 where allowed in the show to display their rides for the day. It’s pretty cool looking at the future of car shows, and what guys are doing with the new stuff coming out of Detroit. Detroit? Do any of them come from there any more? Well any ways it’s very cool to see the the wide range of cars on hand.
The car count was down for a Sunday and so was the crowd. I am not sure why it was down from years past, but it made for a good day of shooting pictures.
After a couple trips around the show we decided to load up and call it a day. 2015 was a great show for sure. It was really cool working the gate and parking lot with the 7 Valley Street Rods for three days. There is nothing like hanging out with fellow car guys at one of the largest shows in the nation for three days. I will be working the show again in 2016 for sure.
If any of you out there have not had a chance to visit the Syracuse Nationals, I would mark it on your calander for 2016. Do your self a favor and come to the Salt City for a great weekend of Hotrods and Automotive fun. Live music all three days, great food, and super stars of the industry are on hand all three days.
Thank you for stopping by. Check out all of my images from this years show at John Zachary Photography
I will see you at the Show