In this hobby, we tend to mark the seasons as much by car and truck shows as by holidays. In Southern California, you could say that the new year begins with the Grand National Roadster Show and ends with the Mooneyes Xmas Party. When Back to the Beach comes to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, you know that summer is coming, and when the Primer Nationals packs the same spot, you know that summer is ending.

In 2009, the Primer Nationals celebrated it's seventh year in Ventura. The event slid from October to Labor Day weekend a few years back, and stretched from a one-day get-together to a Saturday and Sunday show a little later. Winning vehicles (yes, there is judging in numerous categories) are selected on Saturday and the awards are presented on Sunday. Both days feature live retro bands plus a fairground full of vendors, peddling everything from automotive accessories to apparel, artwork, books and magazines, and food and drink. But it's not the vendors that draw the crowds at the Primer Nats, it's the hundreds of '64-and-earlier hot rods, custom cars, bikes, low-riders, and custom classic trucks. As you can see from this gallery of photos, the emphasis here is on traditionally styled, real-world, homebuilt vehicles-and a primered finish is not a requirement.

The last time we checked the Primer Nationals website at www.primernationals.com, info for this year's event had not been posted, but we'll keep checking. We've already marked the calendar to save Labor Day weekend for the 2010 Primer Nationals.

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