Go Bananas! West Michigan’s Big Banana Car is Back on the Road in 2022
Ridiculous Steve and his big banana on wheels are back in action for the 2022 season, much to the delight of west Michigan residents! Owner Steve Braithwaite is dusting off the 23 foot long motorized banana and will be offering rides in Parchment this weekend.
The self-titled "Ridiculous Steve" started converting his 1993 Ford pick-up in 2009 and completed the project with the help of friends in a little over 2.5 years. The official Big Banana Car website says,
[Steve] was born at a very early age in the picturesque town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England...As a youngster, like a moth to the flame, he was attracted to all things yellow. The movie "American Graffiti" channeled his attraction toward yellow hotrods and then a chance meeting with a basket of fruit in a gas station narrowed his focus even further and an idea was born.
The Big Banana Car hit the road in 2011 and has been lifting the spirits of west Michigan residents ever since. Throughout the summer months you can find Steve and his banana car parked at various ice cream shops throughout the area. For his first ride of the season, Ridiculous Steve will be set up at Twisters in Parchment from noon to 9:00 p.m. this weekend, May 20 and 21.
Having gotten a ride from Steve in Allegan last summer, I've experienced joyriding in the Big Banana Car firsthand. The great thing about taking a ride with Steve is that he is super welcoming and more than happy to answer any and all questions about his truck-to-banana conversion.
Here's how it works: When you arrive to Steve's location (no appointment needed) he'll give you the lowdown on the history of the banana car. From the creation to the events it's attended to the national commercials it's appeared in, it even has its own Matchbox car! Steve will even show you the children's book he's written about the car. The Big Banana Car can fit up to three riders, in addition to Steve, and he'll take you on a quick ride through town. Be sure to bring any car seats you may need! Donations are encouraged for taking a ride with Steve and although there is no set amount, he just asks you simply pay what you can.
The Big Banana Car is a local legend in the Kalamazoo-area. This weekend will be the first of many chances to take a ride with Ridiculous Steve so if you can't make it out to Parchment this weekend, you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch up with Steve before summer's over. It's something everyone needs to do once in their lifetime!