08/18/09 11:30PM Car Show for T-Birds, Ford, T-Bird Convention, T-Birds, Thunderbirds, Vintage T-Birds

CITY OF LOCKPORT: T-bird convention coming to city
By April Amadon Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Starting this weekend, dozens of Ford Thunderbirds will descend on Lockport, as the 16th annual International Thunderbird Club Convention comes to town.

The convention begins Sunday at the Holiday Inn on South Transit Street. This is the first time the car show has come to Lockport, and more than 170 people have signed up for the convention.

Convention co-chairman Andrew Schmidt said 75 cars are registered.

“It’s people from all over the world, they come from all different countries, and it’s their annual meeting,” Schmidt said. “They do their car show, where they do judging and everything else.”

Every year, the planners try and pick a different location, “so there’s always different things to do, different things to see,” Schmidt said. “It’s more of a fun get-together than anything else, than even a car show.”

The convention allows people to meet others who are fascinated by the Ford Thunderbird — a unique car that Schmidt said brings people together.

“There’s different styles for different years, and it appeals to different people,” he said. “It’s kind of a nostalgic nameplate, the first sports car.”

The weekly Lockport Cruise Night on Monday will feature the Thunderbirds.

The convention runs through Aug. 30. Throughout the week, there are events planned for the car-lovers. On one day, they will travel to the Railroad Museum in Medina, and on another, they will head to Niagara Falls. They will also tour the Lockport locks and other tourist locations in Lockport, along with Old Fort Niagara, Lewiston and the Niagara Power Authority.

John Percy, president and CEO of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, said in a news release that the convention organizers added an extra day to their original plan to allow for visits to all the tourist sites.

“(They) were impressed with the quantity and quality of Niagara USA’s attractions and wanted to allot enough time to explore our entire region,” Percy said. “The estimated economic impact to Lockport and Niagara USA is expected to be about $300,000.”

A Thunderbird Show for pre-registered convention attendees will be held at the Holiday Inn on Saturday.

The International Thunderbird Club was founded in 1993 and has more than 1,800 members from more than 10 countries.

The club is open to owners of Thunderbirds from years 1955 to 2005, as well as Thunderbird enthusiasts.

Contact reporter April Amadon at 439-9222, ext. 6251.


• WHAT: 16th Annual International Thunderbird Club Convention

• WHO: Over 170 members of the International Thunderbird Club

• WHEN: Beginning Sunday, continuing through Aug. 30

• CRUISE: The Thunderbirds will be the main attraction at Monday’s Lockport Cruise Night, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ida Fritz Park.

• INFO: For more information, visit www.intl-tbirdclub.com.