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Oak Bay car festival returns for 1st show without its founder

The Oak Bay Collector Car Festival was first started in 1999 by Ken Agate
People fill Oak Bay Avenue for last year’s Oak Bay Collector Car Festival. The event is returning for 2023 but for the first time without its founder. (Black Press Media file photo)

Start revving up your engines because the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival returns on July 23.

Now in its 23rd year, festival organizers are anticipating more than 300 rare and special vehicles, with over 10,000 people coming to admire the displays.

It’s the first year founder Ken Agate, 79, will not be a part of the organization.

Tony Joe and Ron Dempsey have been helping Agate put together these car shows for the last couple of years and hope to continue his legacy, Joe told Black Press Media.

Dempsey first became involved with the car festival four years ago as a member of the Cadillac Club. Dempsey said he was picked by Agate to help organize the festival that year because he lives in Oak Bay.

“And coincidentally, (Joe) and I had been working through some other charity events we’ve done together and so forth and it just kind of came together that we were a team that enjoy working with each other,” Dempsey said.

Although Agate doesn’t have a hand in organizing this year’s festival, he will be there to enjoy the classic cars. Dempsey said he and Joe are both honoured to be part of the next generation of the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival.

“Of course, the goal and the hope is that he’ll be on the site, seeing the sort of fruits of his labour.”

The first car show was in 1999, growing each year.

READ MORE: B.C. brothers uncovering rare auto gems in second season of ‘Lost Car Rescue’

Dempsey and Joe are adding new aspects for this summer’s event, including online registration for the first time for both cars and volunteers. Car registration is $25.

The festival is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Oak Bay Avenue, between Monterey Avenue and Mitchell Street. Those showing off their rides will be positioned in the area beginning at 8 a.m.

There will be local food vendors and live music, and all are welcome.

“Doesn’t matter what kind of car you have,” Joe said. “It’s the community.”

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