By: Anastasia Penchi
If the word “mayhem,” is involved – it has to be good.
Mississippi Mayhem (a reference to the river – not the state) is a car show featuring pre-1965 cars and pre-1975 motorcycles that will be held at the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds in West Salem on Sept. 8-9.
It is described as a weekend adventure where attendants celebrate all things cars and bikes, including the style and spirit of an era when those cars and bikes were king. People dress up. Bands play music from this time period. Hot rodders show off their passions and unite.
If wheel bearings get you greased up, here are some thing to keep in mind:
Step back in time
Organizers are trying to create a feeling of nostalgia here, so they restrict the vehicles in the immediate show area to ensure they contribute to the “feel” of the weekend. Cars and cycles up to 1976 are welcome, and pre-’65 criteria-met cars and pre-’75 criteria-met cycles are featured. If you have a sentimental longing or wistful affection for this era, you may already know some of the lingo likely to be spoken during this event. For instance, according to a hot rod lingo Web site, “lunched” means “wrecked,” as in my son took my car this weekend and “lunched” the transmission. The fact that he bought me lunch afterwards is not payment enough.
Bring the mini hot rodders along
Children ages 12 and under are encouraged to attend as they are likely to enjoy the retro cars and bikes, and get free admission when accompanied by a paid adult. Maybe your youngster will enter the Little Miss and Mister Contest, or cheer on participants during the La Crosse Interstate Speedway Street Drags? That said, organizers also warn that all nightlife “may not be suitable for little eyes and ears.” The website disclaimer advises, “We are not responsible for curse words picked up over the weekend or trips to the principal’s office Monday morning.” It’s a good thing school hasn’t started yet.
Adulting as offered
As discussed above, not every activity is child-appropriate. Late in the evening, attendants play Burlesque Bingo. What could this involve, you ask? The images that popped up during a Google search were very interesting. It seems like the type of experience where one would laugh a lot. Still, it’s also not necessarily something I want my eight-year-old to attend with me. Maybe I’m a prude, but Burlesque Bingo is held at midnight for a reason.
Another of the event activities listed on the schedule is “Flamethrowing – Ring of Fire.” This intrigues me. The only Ring of Fire I’m familiar with is Johnny Cash’s song. And while I agree that love is a burnin’ thing, and it makes a fiery ring – I don’t remember a reference to cars in that song. The Mississippi Mayhem Facebook page shows a video of flames shooting out of the back of a car as you hear loud popping noises and the cheers of the crowd. I don’t know how people make their cars do that, but I can appreciate the thrill. Loud noises and shooting flames get people all jacked up.
Find Fanny for your questions
Organizer Fanny Freckles is the front woman of Mississippi Mayhem. She is dressed in a period frilly skirt and is scooting around the show on a chrome bicycle, dinging the bell at people. Fanny talks to the reporters, does appearances and answers inquiries. Maybe she even enters the Dance Contest? She certainly puts the intrigue out there with her distinct events and descriptions.
Anastasia Penchi is graduate of UW-La Crosse and a long-time Coulee Region writer who has written for area newspapers and magazines (www.loislaneforhire.com).