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Thunder in the Valley: Bigger and better event this summer


Last updated 5/25/2021 at 1:45pm | View PDF

Karen AuBuchon Johnson

An antique Fountain Fire engine is shown in this scene from the 2019 car show.

By G. Connor Salter

After a year off due to COVID, a popular Fountain car show will return in July. Started in 2004, the Thunder in the Valley Car Show has grown into a two-day event in July that includes car contests, exhibits, food and other activities, with the proceeds going to Fountain Valley Scholars. Aaron Twite, president of the show, explained that due to COVID regulations, the 2020 Thunder in the Valley show was canceled. However, the group was still able to get some money from their regular sponsors.

"They were generous enough to still donate, and when we called them to see if they wanted the money back, they just said 'no,' [and to] use toward the groups that we donate to," Twite said.

Thanks to reduced regulations, the Thunder in the Valley Car Show will return this year. The show will be held at Metcalfe Park, 4-5 p.m. on July 9 (the usual Friday Night Cruise around Fountain will start at 5 p.m.) and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on July 10 (gates opening at 7 a.m. that day). People will be able to see local cars displayed, enjoy food from local vendors, and enjoy the annual Thunder Muffler Rap Contest, which awards a prize to the car with the loudest muffler. Since the 2020 show was canceled and the group wants to raise as much money as possible, the plan is to make this year a particularly sensational show.

"We're just trying to go as big as possible," Twite said. "We do have more vendors this year, as far as food vendors and stuff like that. We're unable to do our silent auction that we normally do, but we are trying to basically raise as much as we possibly can, so we can help Dollars for Scholars."

The vendors will include Tuns of Fun Hot Dogs, Chef Bob's Lobstah Trap Food Truck and Kona Ice. Peaks N Pines Brewery will also donate root beer and cream sodas for the event, and the Fire Department Auxiliary will barbecue hamburgers.

While regulations have been reduced, Twite emphasized that the show will follow health regulations to keep everyone safe.

"Whatever we are mandated to do is what we are going to be doing," Twite said. "Right now, it does not look like we're going to be too restricted. We will still practice social distancing just like at any event that we do. We will have medical staff there, the fire department is right down the street... We will also have the local PD coming through just to do the standard checking."

Over the years, the Thunder in the Valley Car Show has raised over $30,000 for Fountain Valley Scholars, and Twite hopes that this year's event will top previous records.

"Our best year was $13,000; we would like to hit $15,000, but we also know that a lot of businesses were hurt last year due to COVID," Twite said. "We'll do our best to hit our goal, but at the same time we also understand where other businesses stand."

To find out more about the show, including how to register a car for the show, check out the group's Facebook page,, or their website, To find out more about Fountain Valley Scholars, which awards scholarships to local high school graduates, go to


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