Style on Four Wheels

Sam Edenfield, who organizes the annual car show at Fairfield County’s Rock Around the Clock festival, brings top classic cars to town such as ‘Root Beer Float,’ a 1953 custom Caddy that will be on display Friday and Saturday during the festival. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

There are lots of things to see and do at the annual Rock Around the Clock festival in Fairfield County, but for many, the reason to turn their wheels toward Winnsboro this weekend is the annual RATC classic car show. And the main reason for the popularity of the show is Sam Edenfield.

Edenfield has been the “go-to-guy” of the car show since the festival started about 15 years ago. In fact, while he was being interviewed for this column, he got a phone call from someone in another state wanting to know how to put on a car show. When it comes to car shows, Edenfield is known throughout the Southwest as “the man.” He doesn’t call up a car club. He calls up the top car owners and builders in the country.

The Rock Around the Clock car show has become well-known because of Edenfield’s ability to attract these stellar car owners and builders. This year, he snagged Chris Ryan’s custom 1953 Cadillac convertible, ‘Root Beer Float’. The Caddy placed second in its class in the Ridler Award Show, the most prestigious car show in the Hot Rod and Custom car world. Ryan, based in Ninety Six, S.C., is the owner of Ryan’s Rod and Kustom. The Caddy will be featured later in the month on a two-hour special episode of Powerblock on SPIKE TV. This is a chance to see the car up close before that program airs on Oct. 19 and 20. It’s not unusual for Edenfield to reel in this level of prestigious custom cars.

Over the years the show has become increasingly popular, drawing classic car enthusiasts from several states. Edenfield remembers when Rock Around the Clock started (then called Festival in the Park.)

“We didn’t have enough space for people coming to the festival to park, let alone space to show off the cars,” Edenfield said. When the Town Clock became the main fixture of the festival, Edenfield suggested closing off Congress Street for the car show. That’s where it remains today.

Edenfield works on the show all year long, spending hundreds of hours attending car shows across the South, finding out what’s out there on four wheels and inviting owners and builders to participate in the show.

But Edenfield said he has a long list of people in the community who make the show successful – “my kinfolk and friends – I couldn’t do it without them,” Edenfield said.

He also gets a lot of support from local businesses that contribute items for “goody bags” that Edenfield distributes as prizes.

This year, Edenfield’s efforts have pulled in cars from Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and elsewhere for festival goers to ooh and ahh over.

Edenfield said he loves his ‘job’ managing the car show at Rock Around the Clock.

“I can talk cars better than I can talk anything else,” Edenfield said with a smile. And you’ll know why when you see the parade of top custom cars cruising down Congress Street during the Rock Around the Clock parade Friday evening. They will also be on display all day Saturday.

“Bring your cameras and snap some pictures,” Edenfield said. “And the car owners welcome questions and comments about their cars. That’s what they came for.”

Make plans to attend Rock Around the Clock this weekend and take a spin around the car show. You’ll see some classic examples of style on four wheels.

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