This weekend the streets of Haapsalu were once again jam-packed with vehicles made in the USA, during the American Beauty Car Show, which returned to the Estonian resort town after a three year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Karol Kikkas, the event's main organizer, said that around 2,000 American cars were expected to visit Haapsalu over the weekend, with over 150 exhibits on display, including motorbikes and bicycles as well as cars.
According to the show's official website, only US-made vehicles were allowed into Haapsalu's old town during the event, "thus creating a pleasant American atmosphere." However, a large number of guests also made the trip from Finland and Sweden to take part.
"That's where we get the most regular visitors (from)," said Kikkas. "They've been doing this as a hobby for decades. There are so many of these cars there, that if there were to be any more interest from Finland or Sweden, it would basically impossible to bring them over (to Estonia) by ship."
Among those traveling from Sweden for the show was Leif Areskog, in his 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster 876, a car he had dreamed of owning for a long time.
"I've been interested in American cars all my life," said Areskog, "In 1969, I saw a car just like this for the first time and said to myself that one day I would have one."
But the show wasn't just fun for classic car owners. Throughout Saturday, the town was packed with enthusiasts hoping to get a closer look at the kinds of vehicles you don't usually encounter on the streets of Haapsalu on a daily basis.
"It's nice to see cars you don't see on the road every day," said Madis, who was visiting the show. "It's the older ones that are of particular interest," he added.
The most popular part of the two-day show was undoubtedly the Sunday morning procession, with several thousand spectators coming out into the streets to watch the cars pass through the town. The procession involved both vehicles from the previous day's exhibition in the courtyard of Haapsalu Castle, as well as other American cars owned by attendees of the show.
Demos, a local spectator who came to see the parade, described it as an annual tradition. "It's exciting for the children to see the cars and hear the noise they make," he said, adding that he also had a friend who was participating in this year's procession.
Editor: Michael Cole