Every May (with the exception of the past two years), locals and tourists alike stream into downtown to enjoy what’s become a beloved annual tradition far and wide: Lost in the ‘50s. Started by Carolyn Gleason back in 1986, it’s a celebration of music, cars and community. But the event wasn’t always such a large affair. In fact, it grew out of Gleason’s love of music and desire to bring the great artists of the era here before it was too late, and the event started as a fundraiser for another Sandpoint tradition: The Festival at Sandpoint. The cars were an afterthought, but soon became a large part of the fun.
The first year, there were only 26 cars, and there was no charge for the show (for the first three years, in fact). It was a resounding success. Today, in its 35th year, the event has grown in size, but the downhome tradition and feel remain the same. You can often even find the grand champion from that first year, a ‘57 Chevy owned by a woman from Hamilton, Montana, at the show, her first-year trophy in the trunk, according to Gleason. In the early years, traffic would still roll through downtown during the show and events, but it wasn’t long before Gleason and her crew were able to shut down downtown traffic, so the show could take center (and a safe) stage.
This year’s 35th annual Lost in the ‘50s is back on May 20 and 21, featuring Darlene Love and the Righteous Brothers performing out at the fairgrounds.