The man behind the markers that have created the Langley Good Times Cruise-in poster art for more than a decade, is also the co-creator of a popular new feature at the communityâ€™s largest show and shine.
In 2013, Blair Howatt and his wife Julie introduced the New Car Corral, bringing together car clubs and new car dealers in the Value Village parking lot.
For what Blair describes as â€œa very reasonable fee,â€ new car dealers bring in their flashiest six cars and set up a booth promoting their dealership and brand.
â€œLast year, we had a good response from the local dealers, but an incredible response from the crowd of 70,000 people who came for the day,â€ Blair said. â€œThe dealers who attended told us they had a very busy day. This is an awesome opportunity for any dealership and car clubs to attend and showcase their business/club and their brand.â€
There is still room for dealerships to take part in this yearâ€™s New Car Corral, which has moved to the Cascades Casino parking lot.
Clubs and dealerships can sign up by contacting Blair and Julie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Langley Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com.
Blairâ€™s work as the official Cruise-in poster artist dovetails into his work as co-organizer of the New Car Corral.
The owner of a modified 1984 Monte Carlo, Blair has been voluntarily creating the Cruise-in poster illustrations for the past 11 years, and wanted to have more hands-on experience with the show.
Julie, meanwhile, admits she has never been remotely part of, or interested in, the show but decided to help out last year, organizing the dealers and clubs.
â€œI enjoyed dealing with the contacts at the dealers and clubs so much that Iâ€™m willing to go through the same long day again this year,â€ she said.
As for Blair, his love of cars stems from his childhood when his dad, who owned a couple of classic cars, took him to car shows.
For the past 11 years, Blairâ€™s contributions to Cruise-in could be found around town, in the form of his eye-catching promotional artwork. He works for FedEx full-time and does artwork purely as a hobby.
â€œEach year the board members give suggestions and ideas of what they would like to see, and then using my creative skills I put them together on paper,â€ Blair shared.
This year, there were three sketches, and each had a strong connection to either Langley or Fort Langley.
â€œWe were looking for something more traditional like previous years,â€ said Blair, who noted that this yearâ€™s artwork is his favourite because it has more meaning to it.
A steam engine can be found on the far right hand side of this yearâ€™s art, next to Langley Station. The steam engine brings back fond memories of Blairâ€™s dad, who passed away at a relatively young age.
â€œOne of my greater memories as a kid was riding on the Royal Hudson steam engine with my dad,â€ Blair said. â€œJust something about that old train. My father died at 52 so it was those memories I wanted to put on paper.â€