A Look Back at the King Midget 70th Anniversary Jamboree in Athens

The King Midget 70th Anniversary Jamboree rolled into Athens August 12-14.

The King Midget 70th Anniversary Jamboree rolled into Athens August 12-14.

The King Midget Car Club hosted its 70th Anniversary Jamboree in Athens County August 12-14. Every 10 years, the car club takes a break from hosting their annual jamboree around the country to come home to Athens. The visits always add to Athens’ whimsical vibe, so we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments from this year’s jamboree.

But first, let’s discuss the King Midget…

It’s a microcar that was conceived and built in Athens, Ohio between 1946 and 1970.

Photographs of the King Midget 70th Anniversary Jamboree activities on August 11, 2016. [Photograph by Joel Prince]

”Microcar” is, in fact, a technical term for really, really small cars.

Originally, King Midgets (called “Kings” by their owners) came as a kit you ordered and assembled by yourself. By the late 1940s, you could purchase a King Midget Model II fully assembled, but owners continued to tinker with and customize their Kings.

Bright colors and custom features help these little cars make a big impression. [Photograph by Joel Prince]

Bright colors and custom features help these little cars make a big impression.

While brakes came standard on all cars, some King Midget owners liked having backup systems in place.

Because sometimes you just need to put your foot down.

Because sometimes you just need to put your foot down.

Throughout the 24 years they were manufactured, King Midgets were considered “the world’s number one fun car.”

Standard among King Midget owners: a sense of humor.

Standard among King Midget owners: a sense of humor.

In order for a King to be considered road worthy, it had to pass the High Street Hill Climb, which meant the car had to be able to make it up one of the highest hills in Athens. Each time the Kings host their Jamboree in Athens, they recreate this challenge.

Completion—not speed—determine success of the High Street Hill Climb.

Completion—not speed—determine success of the High Street Hill Climb.

Another favorite tradition of the King Midget Jamboree is to host a cruise-in along Court Street in Uptown Athens.

These cars look so good they’d stop traffic anyway.

These cars look so good they’d stop traffic anyway.

Unlike the 17-year cicadas, the 70th King Midget Jamboree has been an invasion everyone in Athens enjoyed.

You could call the King Midget a true Athens Original—and you’d be right.

You could call the King Midget a true Athens Original—and you’d be right.

Thanks for visiting us, Kings! We’ll see you at the 2027 Jamboree.

Ready to visit the home of the King Midget microcar? Let us help you plan your trip.

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