Christmas is still months away, but for fans of the annual ACD Festival in Auburn, Labor Day weekend can be just as exciting as the holiday season.
“People look forward to the festival all year,” says Amber Jackson, executive director of the ACD Festival. “It’s not just for car enthusiasts. There’s something for everyone at the festival and this year, we have many new and exciting things happening.”
Growing up in northeast Indiana, Jackson knew the ACD Festival was a popular event, but had no idea how passionate the Auburn community is about it until she accepted the position of executive director last year.
“What I love to see is that this community really has a sense of doing things for the greater good. There are business collaborations and partnerships taking place for the festival that probably wouldn’t happen in big cities. This festival is all about keeping people engaged and involved and showing off a little bit. There is so much that Auburn has to offer.”
Jackson started working on this year’s festival the day after last year’s festival ended.
The theme for ACD Festival 2018 is “Year of the Speedster.”
“The ACD Club comes up with a different theme each year,” says Jackson. “They were the ones who started the festival 62 years ago. It was just a small group of guys who owned cars made in the 1930s and they decided to get together once a year. The first year, 14 cars were there and it just grew every year and eventually became a huge economic boost for the entire community as people from all over the world came to the festival. People have cars from all over the world brought here just for this event.”
The festival runs from Aug. 25 through Sept. 2, but Jackson says the two busiest days are on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
“On Friday, the gates for the 700-car cruise-in around the courthouse open at 10 a.m., there’s an ice cream social at 5 p.m. and family movie night at the James Plaza,” says Jackson. “There will also be food trucks and a live performance from crowd favorites Chris Worth and Hubie Ashcraft starting at 6 p.m.”
Jackson says one of the biggest thrills this year will be a live performance from Fort Wayne’s Addison Agen, who competed on The Voice and gained national attention for her musical talents.
“I reached out to her dad through Facebook and everything fell into place. The level of musicality you will hear from these performers will be the same level as major music festivals. Local up and coming band, Casual Friday, will be opening for Addison before she performs on our main stage downtown from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The concert is free. We just want people to come and have a good time.”
After her performance, there will still be a number of things going on until and after the Cricket Wireless fireworks show starting at 9:30 p.m.
“We wanted to come up with different venues for different ages. Big Caddy Daddy, a local favorite, will play on the main stage from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. One block over, at the James Plaza, we’re going to have a “Glow Up the Plaza” glow party that will bring dance music, glow-up art, a digital laser light show and a beach cruiser glow-up parade from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Our Fast and Fabulous exotic car display will be happening during this time by our stage. Plus, Dreammakers and the regional Porsche Club will be bringing out some amazing cars.”
Jackson says she’s also excited to announce there will be a large LED screen on the back of the main stage this year.
“This is all compliments of our new sound company, CSD, and our stage sponsors 3Rivers Federal Credit Union and Peter Franklin Jewelers. Not only will there be live music from the stage, but an interactive screen on the other side with information about events going on and, of course, a big countdown to the fireworks show.”
Another new event this year is, “Dancing with the DeKalb Stars.” It takes place on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the Country Heritage Winery in LaOtto.
“This will feature residents of the DeKalb County competing in a friendly way to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital.”
Jackson is dedicated to her work and says she wants as many people as possible to come to Auburn for the festival.
“I love it when someone comes to the festival for the first time and says, ‘How did I not know about this and how great it is?’”
Address: 1600 Wayne St. Auburn, Indiana 46706
Phone: (260) 925-3600