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Cars on display

Krystle Wagner • Jul 29, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Michael Bates leaned down to kiss his daughter’s cheek as she sat behind the wheel of her F-150 on Sunday.

Emersyn Bates, 2, showed off her custom made Power Wheels alongside her dad’s 1985 F-150 during the Cruise-In Car Show. Almost 350 cars participated in the Coast Guard Festival event that spanned Washington Avenue from Fourth Street to Harbor Drive and the side streets in between. A complete list of car show winners will be available later in the week.

Michael Bates, 34, has owned his truck since he was 16-years-old. The truck is lifted about 15 inches, and has undergone a full restoration in the past five years.

Emersyn Bates loves her dad’s truck so much that she says “good night” to it from her bedroom window, so they sanded a Power Wheels down and painted it to match. Michael’s truck is named “Orange Crush,” while Emersyn’s truck is called “Cutie Crush.”

The Bates family, from Hudsonville, participates in several car shows a year. Michael Bates said participants become like a family because they see almost the same people every time.

Monica Bates said they enjoy seeing other cars, and answering questions about their truck.

As people admired cars lining Washington Avenue, Hamilton resident Doug Brower sat in his chair watching the crowd.

The Cruise-In Car Show is one of a handful of shows Brower shows his 1980 Pontiac Trans Am. Brower said he enjoys meeting people and answering questions about the car he’s owned since he was 16-years-old.

Brower purchased the vehicle from a dealership in Holland. At the time, Brower said it was suggested that he purchase the black car because it would be worth more in the future if he kept it up.

Attending car shows isn’t about winning award, but rather about having the chance to showcase their car and let people appreciate them, Brower said.

“They have an appreciation for the old cars and keeping them up,” he said.

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