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GOINGS ON : American Dream Cars of the 1950s on Display : This year's Concours d'Elegance will include plenty of chrome, fins Naugahyde and two-tone paint.


Jack Bianchi of Bianchi Motors in Santa Barbara speaks fondly of the automobiles of the 1950s.

"Close your eyes," he said. "Think of the chrome, the fins, the Naugahyde, the two-tone paint, the cockpit interior, the bucket seats. They indicated a real free-flowing style of design, where money was no object."

It's the feel of that era that Bianchi attempted to re-create when he selected some of the 180-plus cars being featured in Saturday's 17th Annual Concours d'Elegance at Santa Barbara City College.

In keeping with the "American Dream" theme, Bianchi, the show's technical director, arranged for some of the more influential cars of the '50s--including the 1959 Scimitar--to join the usual cast of vintage, antique, European and sports cars.

"Cars (of the '50s) were kept hidden until introduction day. . . . Even the showrooms had curtains. Every year there would be styling changes," Bianchi said. "It was a spectacle. It was also keeping up with the Joneses. Your neighbor bought a new car, you bought a new car."

The concours will begin at 10 a.m. with viewing and judging of the cars. A procession will begin at 1:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Food and drinks will be available.

General admission is $12 in advance, $17 at the gate. Children age 5-12 can get in for $5; under 5, free. Call 965-7212. The college is located at 721 Cliff Drive.

Proceeds will benefit the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, which provides $600,000 in college funds annually for Santa Barbara area students.


The Oak Park cultural events season will continue Saturday and Sunday with a "Mexican Independence" celebration. Dancing, music, Mexican food, and other festival activities will be featured from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Admission is free. The park is located at Alamar Avenue and Junipero Street.


Mix and mingle with the resident lions, tigers, and giraffes, when the Santa Barbara Zoo holds it 22nd Annual Zoo-B-Que Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. OK, you can mix and mingle from a distance, if you like.

The zoo will feature camel rides, music, clowns, and other family-oriented festivities. And don't forget the barbecue itself--tri-tip or vegetarian for the general public, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for kids age 7 and younger.

General admission is $10; free for children under 8. Proceeds from the barbecue, a major fund-raiser for the zoo, will help pay for the Swan Lake exhibit built earlier this year. The zoo is located at 500 Ninos Drive.


Downtown Santa Barbara will usher in its 1993-94 performing arts season Tuesday with an all-evening "Curtains Up" celebration.

Things will kick off at 5 p.m. when State Street, between Figueroa and Victoria streets, will be closed to vehicular traffic, and opened to food vendors, arts and crafts booths, and live entertainment.

Then, from 6 to 10 p.m., local performing arts companies will share some excerpts of their current and upcoming shows. The Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera will perform "Oklahoma" at the Granada Theater. Center Stage Theater will show some scenes from "A Stranger in Paradise" and "Dracula."

The troupe from A Company of Players will perform "The Tempest" at the Lobero Theater.

From 8 to 10 p.m., the Red Dog Saloon Dancers will demonstrate their line dancing skills at the Granada Outdoor Stage.

And finally, after all that activity, folks can wind down with a coffee and dessert encore at the Earthling Bookstore. All of the events are free. For more information, call 962-2098.

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