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No snow, but lots of festive cheer at Christmas in July

Beth Rickers/Daily Globe Don and Jean Heeren of Paullina, Iowa, stand by their restored 1966 Chevelle during the Ribs & Rims event Friday night at Adrian's Christmas in July festival.

ADRIAN -- With temperatures hovering in the 90s, it certainly didn't feel like December outside, but a festive spirit prevailed throughout the weekend at Adrian's Christmas in July celebration.

The community spirit was in full swing Friday night during the first Ribs & Rims event. The line for plates full of pork ribs snaked around the large tent that had been set up behind Adrian's main drag, and the entries for the "rims" part of the event encompassed several city blocks.

Making its debut at the vehicle show was a 1963 Nova owned by Jason Loring of Adrian.

"I just put all new sheet metal and redid it this winter," Loring explained. "The first time I've had it out was driving it from the shop over here."

The Nova, which he found in Arizona, is a retired drag car, so it came with tub seats and a roll cage inside. He left those in place, but Loring has no plans to race it himself.

"It's a grocery-getter," he said. "I'm going to drive it around, that's about it."

A 1969 Mustang convertible that was on display Friday is one of three ponies owned by Wes and Rose Henriksen of Adrian.

"They're all the same year," Wes explained. "It's what I had when I was a kid, so I've got a coupe, a Mach I and a convertible. I've had this one two years and have got 1,050 miles on it. At first we trailered it to a few car shows, but now we just drive it."

A 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, owned by Melvin Holmbeck of Sioux Falls, S.D., is a frequenter of car shows around the region.

"I've had it since 1984," explained Holmbeck, who was born and raised in Lake Wilson. "I got divorced, bought it, and drove it out to California and back."

Since that road trip, Holmbeck has completely restored the Galaxie, and as a member of Great Plains Streetrodders, he enjoys showing off the handiwork that went into the project.

"Why have it if you're not going to drive it?" he said.

That's also the philosophy of Don and Jean Heeren of Paullina, Iowa, who have put 150,000 miles on their 1966 Chevelle since they acquired it 20 years ago. About four years ago, Don completed an intense restoration.

"I took it off the frame and completely redid it," he said, paging through a photo album that documented the process. "Just about everything is new. It took me 16 weeks. I did it pretty fast, worked at it like it was a job, eight hours a day."

As members of the Tristate Cruisers car club, the Heerens take the Chevelle --now painted "Corvette torch red" -- to car shows every Wednesday night and to other shows throughout the region.

"We go to a different drive-in or eating place every Wednesday night, and we'll get 200 to 300 cars," Don said.

The Adrian event was a homecoming for Jean, who grew up in the community. Her maiden name is MacRunnels, and her dad used to run the shoe store on Adrian's Maine Street.

"We thought it would be fun, and maybe we'd get to see a few people," she said.

The Adrian festivities continued throughout the weekend, with a grand parade on Saturday evening and concluded with a community worship service Sunday morning at the Adrian Campground.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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