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Kenosha History Center hosting Simmons Summer Kick-Off Block Party

Kenosha History Center hosting Simmons Summer Kick-Off Block Party

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The Kenosha History Center is helping kick off the summer season in Kenosha with a new event Saturday (June 1).

The Simmons Summer Kick-Off Block Party is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the Kenosha History Center, 220 51st Place.

Visitors can enjoy an American Motors Corp. and Classic Car Show (all cars made in 1988 and before are welcome). It’s free entry for car owners and spectators.

“We are very excited for our Block Party event this Saturday,” said Chris Allen, the History Center’s executive director.

Admission is free — for spectators and classic car owners — and parking for the classic cars will be in front of the museum and along 51st Place all the way down to the red lighthouse, Allen said. (Note: The road will be closed to regular traffic at the Southport Lighthouse during this event.)

Parking for non-classic cars will be on Simmons Island, at the Simmons Beach House area and extended north.

“Visitors are encouraged to park along the rubber-wheeled trolley route and ride that down to the event,” Allen said. “Parking will be limited because space on Simmons Island is limited.”

While the event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the classic cars “will come and go during the open hours of the event.”

The Block Party will features local food vendors in the History Center’s parking lot, serving food all day. Vendors include Grab’s Burger Bar, Twisted Cuisine, Infusino’s Pizza and De La Rosa Taqueria, Allen said.

Music will be provided by a DJ, and WIIL Rock-FM 95 will be broadcasting live from the event from 1 to 3 p.m.

Also at the Block Party, “We will be accepting registration for the 2020 Kenosha Homecoming Car Show,” Allen said. There will be a registration table inside the museum.

Inside the museum

While all of those activities are outside the History Center, visitors are welcome to go inside and check out the 2019 car exhibit inside the free museum: “All American: Kenosha Style,” which honors the famous AMC red, white and blue paint scheme.

“The reason for the event is that we wanted to put a spotlight on and do a ‘re-Grand Opening’ for the ‘All-American: Kenosha Style’ exhibit,” Allen said.

“When we open an exhibit in the fall, it is usually too late in the year to do a large gathering of cars outside, due to weather and salt on the road.

“By waiting until the spring, we can celebrate the exhibit properly with a great car show outside our museum.”

Allen added that “many of the owners of the cars that are on display inside the museum will be there on Saturday to answer questions about their cars.”

The “All-American: Kenosha Style” exhibit includes:

A 1970 Javelin SST Trans Am (85 percent original, 1 of 100 made, 1 of about 22-25 in existence)

A 1970 AMC Rebel Machine (original car, unrestored)

A 1976 Bicentennial Pacer made for State Farm (1 of 12 originally made; most likely only one in this condition known to exist; unrestored)

A 1969 AMC SC Rambler “Scrambler” B Paint scheme (1 of about 500 in this paint scheme; 1 of about 1,500 total; all original)

A 1969 AMC SC Rambler “Scrambler” A Paint scheme (1 of about 1,000 in this paint scheme; 1 of 1,500 total)

“Topel’s Rambler,” a 1967 AMC Rambler Rebel

During the Block Party, Allen said, the Southport Lighthouse will stay open until 7 p.m. (Generally the lighthouse is open until 4 p.m.)

Climbs to the top of the tower are normally $10 for adults and $5 for children; you must be at least 8 years old to climb.

“During the event, the climbs will be a flat rate of $5 for everyone,” Allen said. “The view from the top should provide a great photo opportunity for people wishing to capture the event — and the surrounding beauty of the area.”

Note: The event’s rain date is Sunday (June 2). For more information, call 262-654-5770. Admission is free.

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