James Dean Festival & Ducktail Run boast cool cars in the home of the original rebel.
Fairmount and Gas City, Indiana play host to hot-rods and classic 50’s entertainment.
While many enjoy changing leaves during the last weekend in September, the towns of Fairmount, Indiana and Gas City, Indiana celebrate fall by hosting the James Dean Festival and Ducktail Run, festivals that feature thousands of classic cars and that are a throwback to the fifties. Located a short drive from the Grant County, Indiana cities of Marion and Upland, the festivals’ hosts have cultivated a dynamic atmosphere that pays tribute to James Dean and ensures that his legend lives on.
Fairmount, Indiana’s James Dean Festival: Cool Lives On
Thousands of cars pack into Fairmount, Indiana during the James Dean Festival each September. While the flame throwing contests, muffler rapping contest and Parade of Neon draw crowds in Playacres Park, James Dean Festival’s namesake usually draws the most attention. This annual event, sponsored by the Fairmount Historical Museum, attracts fans from across the globe. Visitors can view all three of James Dean’s films, enter the 50’s dance and costume contest and rock out to classic tunes from local musicians. Those who think they look like James Dean can try to make believers of the judges at the James Dean Look Alike contest. Downtown Fairmount, Indiana shops, including antique stores and the Hi-Fi Stereo Shop, all sell their wares during the James Dean Festival, as do other sidewalk vendors.
Gas City, Indiana’s Ducktail Run: Cars Take Center stage
Gas City, Indiana features nearly 3,000 classic automobiles (1972 or older) during the packed Ducktail Run festival at Gas City’s ‘Beaner Linn’ Park. Neon, flame-throwing and muffler rapping contests are held throughout the last weekend in September at one of the best shows in the Midwest. Collectors from nearly all 50 states participate in the family-friendly weekend which also plays host to one of the largest swap meets in the area, “Jerry’s Junkyard.”
If You Visit Gas City, Indiana and Fairmount, Indiana for the Car Shows
- Dates and Hours: The James Dean Festival and Ducktail Run are held annually the last full weekend in September.
- Things to Bring: Camera, cell phone to check in on Foursquare, sunscreen, clothes appropriate for the weather, friends and family, an appetite for delicious food from street vendors, James Dean lookalikes.
- Other Interesting Attractions In the Area: Splash House Water Park, Ivanhoe’s Restaurant, Payne’s Restaurant, Hi-Fi Stereo Shop, James Dean’s birth site in Marion, Indiana. More dining options are available throughout Grant County.