Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Red Flag Horseless Carriage made trips to several historic and unique Southeast Iowa locations during the three-day event.
Thirty-five drivers came from far and wide to participate in the event. One person who signed up, but was not able to make the tour, was from California.
Red Flag Horseless Carriage Vice President Mark Hempen said the celebration is excellent for those from the area and outside of it.
"Being in Southeast Iowa, we have the opportunity to take advantage of things like Midwest Old Threshers, Tri-State Rodeo, and the Sweet Corn Festival," Hempen said. "We have many festivities and events like that, which we can take for granted because it's been in our own backyard for so long. Sometimes we forget that there are people from outside our backyard that haven't seen anything like that. We're always trying to find unique places, unique stories, or unique communities."
On the first day of the event, participants got the opportunity to travel from Mt. Pleasant to Washington.
Participants explored numerous spots along the way, including a special visit to the world's oldest continuously operating cinematic theater.
After the trip to Washington, drivers headed north to Hal Colliver's farm featuring a colorful collection of road signs and billboards just south of West Chester.
Colliver was excited to have people take notice of his collection.
"It's great," Colliver said. "It's doesn't get any better than this. It couldn't have been a better day out here."
After completing the trip to Washington, participants returned to Mt. Pleasant to show off their cars on the square.
After dinner, the drivers made their way out to the Midwest Old Threshers Grounds for a movie night.
Friday, the drivers got to experience their longest trip. The convoy made its way to Cantril, Iowa.
The so-called main event took place on Saturday. The drivers' journey took them from New London to Brighton.
Mike Fortney, who's from Oskaloosa, Iowa, said it's great to come to an event like this to see the area and experience the plethora of cars.
"We love it, and it's fantastic," Fortney said. "What's really enjoyable about this is, I drive a Model T Ford, but there are all other brands here. There are cars you'll never get to see again anywhere else. And the people. We got people coming from all over the United States coming here to this event. Meeting them or even looking at their cars has been a joy."
The driver's trip from New London to Brighton is considered the main event due to its connection with history in England. It pays homage to a celebration that took place from London, England, to Brighton, England.
The celebration was created after the burning of red flags used by men who had to walk alongside cars in the late 1800s to keep them from going over four mph. The red flags were no longer required after the law was changed in 1896 and the driving speed was increased to 14 mph.
Gerry Schnepf, a Red Flag Horseless Carriage board member, said events like this are important for history.
"There's an expression in why you do things like this," Schnepf said. "Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it. If you understand old vehicles and you understand your heritage, pretty soon you get a different feeling about things."