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Iola car show becoming a family tradition

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 18:11:43-04

IOLA (NBC 26) — Iola, Wisconsin has a population of just more than 1,200, but tens of thousands of people flock each year to the area for the Iola Car Show.

Some of the thousands of attendees are newcomers and many others have journeyed to Iola for the car show on more than one occasion.

One family has had at least one representative since the start of the 51-year-old event.

Jim Buchman has kept his family coming to Iola since the inaugural event, with his sister Jane joining him in recent years.

Both siblings have a deep passion for cars.

"It was really, really small and maybe only 20 cars or so [at the start]," Jim said. "I came here with my wife and infant son. And at the time, I thought this will never amount to anything. And boy, was I wrong."

The Iola Car Show and Swap Meet is the biggest car show in the country, as well as the oldest.

Car Show staffing said that this year's event even experienced record numbers in attendance and the number of show cars.

For Jane, this year's event is a little more special for her and her 2004 Ford Mustang.

"A couple of years ago I started coming here as a spectator, and this is the first year I'm showing my car," Jane said. "Yep, that's my baby."

Jim and Jane are not the only ones in the family to take an interest in cars.

Their old brother, Bob, who has also attended the event on numerous occasions, gained an interest in cars as a teenager.

It does not start there for the family either.

The siblings said that their mother came from a family heavily involved in the car industry.

Passion for cars is one of the main reasons why the Car Show has attracted people from across the region.

The event has generated over $9 million dollars for local organizations and around $30 million dollars for central Wisconsin each year.

This year's theme was titled, "The Unforgettable Fifties", featuring a great variety of vintage cars that can still be driven today.

For the Buchman family, the 3-day event had already reached the youngest generation.

"My youngest grandson was up here at 12 years old and he just loves the swap area," Jim said. "He loves walking around looking at all the parts and pushing the buttons and looking at electronic gizmos. So, it's truly is a family event."