Friends gathered for the annual picnic of the Cincinnati Transit Historical Association (CTHA), a group that's been preserving the transportation heritage of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana for 35 years. Held in the lush gardens of the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, members and their families enjoyed a summertime spread by R&R Meats, featuring delicious cheeseburgers, brats, and tube steaks.

CTHA had their collection of vintage buses on display as well, including two TANK buses built in 1981 and the 1990s, a 1975 COTA bus from Columbus, Ohio, a 1953 Green Line bus from the Cincinnati-Newport-Covington Railway, a former Ohio charter bus, and others.

The crowd favorite is the 1953 Cincinnati Street Railway bus, which was donated to the group by METRO in 1984. (Fun fact: the orange and cream colors inspired the paint scheme for the new Cincinnati Streetcar.)

While looking at the buses is a trip back in time, nothing beats getting to climb aboard and go for a ride! Piling into the seats, retired bus drivers took the group for a spin around the fairgrounds, enjoying the rich hum of the motor, breeze sifting through the open windows, and the display of muscle power needed to maneuver a vehicle made in the days before power steering. We took a tour in three different buses, each with unique features, mechanics, and feel of the ride.

With activities and appearances going on year round, CTHA is a unique social organization filled with some of the most interesting and enjoyable personalities in Cincinnati. They're currently looking for enthusiasts to join, whether you like learning about something new, working hands-on to restore a bus, or helping out in their historical library. Volunteers are always appreciated and you can become a contributing member for as little as $15 annually.

Interested in learning more? Check out membership details on their website and keep a look out for their buses at upcoming events this summer: Glendale Car Show, Montgomery 4th of July Parade, Hamilton Car Show, and Hamilton County Fair.