Lovely 1961 BSA Gold Star Catalina at the 41st Annual Hanford Vintage Show & Swap
Although it is smack in the middle of California's agricultural Central Valley, Hanford has the air of a small town in the Midwest. There is a courthouse lawn, complete with antique cannons. There is a real old fashioned, fun to walk around downtown. There is the Superior Ice Cream Dairy, the sort of place that serves can't-possibly- finish-it-all sky-high sundaes and banana splits. The county fairgrounds just outside town feature kart racing every Friday night.
Once a year in May, this sleepy little town becomes the Mecca for antique motorcycle buffs from all over the West Coast, who take over the fairgrounds and turn it into Old Bike Heaven. Hanford is about equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the fairgrounds have a nice lawn on which to display bikes. This year was the 41st annual Hanford Vintage Show and Swap, featuring over two hundred vendors of everything from rusty antique Indians to parts for 1970's British motorcycles and a hotly contested concours d'elegance.
Checking out vintage British Iron at the 2009 Hanford show
This year was also the 25th and last year for ace British motorcycle restorer Don Harrell's last barbecue, which has been taking place on the same weekend as the Show and Swap, and just 20 miles down the road. He has decided it is too much work for his family – a real shame, since the good food is accompanied by a tour of Don's immaculate restorations – eye candy at its finest. – Margie Siegal
Note: The Hanford show typically falls on the third weekend of May. To keep tabs on the exact dates for next year’s event, point your browser over to Marshall Baker’s Classic Cycle Events.