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“Fest” is defined as a gathering or celebration.  Pick any particular event or season and usually, it can be combined with “fest” for a great party.  Ratoberfest made its way into the “fest” category this past weekend with cars, cars, and more cars. Rat rods, classics, trucks, and every combination in-between was seen at this year’s gathering.

Beacon Dragway was home to the event. Open since May 2013 most racers hail from Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana.  Races are held from March – November.  Now to Ratoberfest…

The fair-like atmosphere was fresh with a crisp October air that arrived last week.  Cloud covered, but dry, attendees had lots to see.  With the dragstrip as a dividing line, many came with their “home for the week” (AKA fifth-wheel, camper, etc.) and parked together to get their tail-gate on in royal fashion.  Skip to the other side and it was the display location for entrants.

Seeing cars pulling in made for a treat, hearing their unique fingerprint…the engine sound.  Some loud, some soft and a few golf carts to boot sang in the cool air.  Finding their parking spaces were muscle cars like “The Judge” and one killer Duster.  Other classics like the Chevy Bel-Aire stood out.  Mustangs, Chevelles, and even a Studebaker nodded their heads to the crowd.

One rat rod named “Sinister” was there just in time for Halloween.  Not being one for scary stuff, I passed quickly and didn’t ask too many questions!  The Devil was in the details for that bad boy, literally.

Some owners sat with their cars.  Some from Paducah, southern Illinois and the surrounding area.  A lineup of large trucks made their presence known by grouping together like soldiers at attention.  Taking a break from their long haul and shined up like a new penny, they drew spectators.

Event organizers made sure the ladies were treated to their own hangar of shopping opportunities.  Local entrepreneurs brought their wares for display.  Donna Dukes and her son Frank headed up the Mary Kay section.  On occasion, he took a break from Minecraft to help out.  Shoppers of all sizes cruised the outlet.


Just outside the Ladies Room – shopping hangar that is – a silent auction held the attention of fest goers with mini cars, racing gear, garage signs and much more.  Drift a bit further and a live demo of hand pinstriping was featured.  Over 50 years of detailing experience was in full view. Make your way for that hamburger or coke or both in the food building.  Cruising the Swap Meet?  No telling what you’ll find with sellers offering items you could only find at a Kentucky Trade Day. Ratoberfest wouldn’t be complete without a pin-up contest…lovely ladies dotting the landscape is a welcome addition to any “fest”.


It’s not just all about the cars after all…proceeds from Ratoberfest benefit Marshall County Exceptional Center for Special Needs Adults.  Great cars, great people and great causes…that’s what it means to Partake in Paducah!  Want to see more? Check out a few event videos on YouTube!