AUSTIN (KXAN) - The 12th Annual Lonestar Round Up, billed as "a Texas-sized weekend of loud Pipes, lead sleds, live music and more" roars into Austin on Friday.
It starts at the Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Lane, around 10 a.m. Typically, participants take their cars to South Congress Avenue to show them off.
"What started out as a small gathering on an old football field of like-minded gearheads, artists and musicians who love traditionally-styled hot rods and customs, has grown into annual tradition right here in Austin, Texas," organizers say on their website.
Friday and Saturday
The main event is at the Travis County Expo Center Friday and Saturday. Check the Roundup website for a complete listing of the additional evening events!
Sunday 11 a.m. - Cruise to Ski Shores
Meet up at Jo's Coffee on South Congress at 11 a.m., and enjoy a Hill Country cruise out to a classic burger joint on the water at Ski Shores Cafe.
"I live and breathe these cars," said Bob Merkt, hot rod enthusiast and builder.
Hot rods are Bob Merkt's passion. He took his cue from his grandfather and father. Both started customizing cars in the 1950s.
Merkt's been coming to the Lonestar Rod and Kustom Roundup for a decade.
"These cars they're all so different and unique," said Merkt. "They all have a story and they're all so historically important."
Merkt moved to Austin to build hot rods six years ago. He said it's more about passion than anything but lean economic times lead to creativity.
"Sometimes you're doing well and you can go buy the parts you need and sometimes you can't so you make them," said Merkt.
The Roundup is a place where professional builders and the guys who built their car in their garage all gather. Many of the rides are an investment.
"These cars can actually grow and escalate in value," said Jerry Slover, Pete and Jake's Hot Rod Parts.
Slover says the hot rod and classic car industry is on an upswing.
"What's crossed over is the guy who was doing the ‘32 Ford and ‘34 Ford has gotten to the point where he recalls in high school he had a ‘55 Chevy or ‘49 Mercury so he's going back to that also," said Slover.
That means a demand for new parts from Slover's shop and more business.
The Lonestar Rod and Kustom Roundup's draw from across the country and world is a also a sign of a growing industry.
"You are starting to see more momentum," Jack Chisenhall, Vintage Air president. "In the last couple of years, this event and most events in the country have really grown."
That includes Austin.
"The builder shops or the paint shops that do this kind of work are growing," said Chisenhall. "There's a lot more than there used to be."
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.