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BEHIND THE SCENES / ORANGE COUNTY

Woodie It Be Nice?

June 27, 1996

The sun was hot, and the surfboards were out--not a bad setting to show off a trove of Woodies, wagons and panel cars, those proper symbols of Southern California's beachy lifestyle.

More than 100 cars and bikes were on display Saturday at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach. Motorcycle fans lingered over a $30,000 reconditioned 1995 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, as well as the vintage autos.

The third annual Rod Show attracted 5,000 spectators to a parking lot adjacent to the museum. The lot--a convenient spot for people to park while visiting the museum--was razed a few days later to make room to build condos and retail stores.

"It was the last hurrah for the parking lot," says museum director Ann Beasley, who added that it's been a struggle to establish a surfing museum in Surf City. Volunteers began collecting items 10 years ago, and there's still no permanent home.

But, she says, "The event wasn't a fund-raiser; it was a fun-raiser."

Museum exhibits include women in surfing and the cornerstone from the world's first concrete pier, built (you guessed it) in Huntington Beach.

Also displayed are surf albums by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Chantays, the Green Room and local surf bands.

The Fabulous Nomads and the Slack Tones performed at the event, sending reverbing surf riffs through the crowd. While Dick Dale classics were well received in the Huntington Beach parking lot, the guy who's now riding his "Pulp Fiction" fame (many of his tunes are on the soundtrack) played that same evening at the Taste of Orange County at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Beasley says that, although it would have been great if Dale had shown up at her event, she understands why he didn't. "Dick has been good to us, but he hasn't reached that stage yet where he'll play for free."

To raise money for the nonprofit museum, bands perform at Hurricane's Bar and Grill on Monday nights. "Surfing music is back," Beasley says.

The museum, at 411 Olive Ave., is open daily noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for students, 6 and under free.

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