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Travel BLOG
June 22, 2012

Riding in Style: Woodies on the Wharf

A rolling history of Santa Cruz culture will be cruising into town Saturday, June 23rd from 10 AM – 4 PM to participate in the 18th Annual Woodies on the Wharf. Be ready to come early to admire over 200 pre-1952, wood-bodied cars, enjoy the music and soak up the nostalgia of Northern California’s largest woodie show, all of which will be taking place on the Santa Cruz Wharf. Admission is free with a complimentary bike valet, or better yet book a room at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn or Beach Street Inn and Suites just steps away from the wharf. Toni Wilkerson, President of the Santa Cruz Woodies, a chapter of the National Woodie Club, anticipates another amazing year on the wharf, “as folks head to Santa Cruz for WOW, the level of excitement is high, the fun explodes as everyone begins to arrive and are ready to have a great time seeing friends, enjoying the parties and hanging out.” Toni will proudly be showing his 1939 Ford for the 11th year and has been attending Woodies on the Wharf for the past 13 years. The woodie originated in the early 1930s and was produced in the United States as variants of sedans, convertibles and was most popular as the station wagon. Some say, the woodie was the modern day SUV. During the 1950s and 60’s, woodies were produced in the greatest numbers, in which the rear bodywork was constructed of wood framework with panels of wood. After the classic car stopped production due to safety regulation, manufactures started using simulated wood grain sheet vinyl, which could never compare to the beauty of real wood. Few real woodies are seen today and when you do see one you can’t help but nudge whoever is near you to share in the excitement. So what is it about the woodie that instantly puts a smile on everyone’s face? “More than the car, it symbolizes the wonderful family and friends that we have made through the years,” says Toni. In Santa Cruz the woodie and the surfboard are constantly linked together creating an image that transforms us back in time.  We see this pairing everywhere on postcards, on mugs and t-shirts.  This two-some has become a symbol of not only Santa Cruz history but also, Santa Cruz surfing history. This is why so many of us smile when we catch a glimpse of a woodie, it transforms us back to the time when the surf culture was transforming a community. When a car full of friends and boards strapped to the hood was what we all strived for and made us the happiest. No matter if you are coming on bike, on foot or in a classic woodie this event is a favorite among locals and attracts woodie owners from as far away as Arizona, Oregon, Washington, East Coast and even Canada. See you Saturday on the Wharf!


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