Classic car shows and summer are a popular combination, especially when the shows are for a good cause.
Those are the feelings of Naperville resident Dave Briggs, who brought out his ’68 Ford Mustang convertible Saturday afternoon and joined hundreds of other car enthusiasts to help support some non-profit groups in Naperville.
“I try to get the car out three to four times a week, and I probably go to cruise night events about two dozen times a year,” Briggs said. “When it’s for a good cause, I want to be a part of things.”
Buy Local Naperville sponsored an inaugural charity fundraising event Saturday at the Cress Creek Shopping Center with a classic car show that featured more than 200 cars, some dating all the way back to 1920.
Director of Buy Local Naperville Jim Peters said the event was being held to support both Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry and Naperville Cares, two groups that were selected “because of the direct impact they have here on the community,” he said.
“We’ve been contacted by some other groups, but for now, we are working with these two groups,” Peters explained. “We’ve reached out to the local business community and have received some very generous sponsorships, and we’re hoping to raise $10,000 this year.”
Peters said additional money would come from the $10 that would be collected for each car shown as well as from a split-the-pot raffle that was held. Free admission was offered to the event, which began at 3 p.m. and ran until 7. The car show also included entertainment from Dan Peters and the West Sidewinders. The show was broadcast live on 95.9 FM The River.
Music cranked from the sound stage Saturday as guests began arriving well before the official 3 p.m. start time. Officials from both Loaves & Fishes and Naperville Cares were enthusiastic about the event, and said they welcomed the efforts of those who organized it as well as the event’s sponsors.
“I think this is a fabulous idea and anytime we can get community support like this, it helps more people,” said Naperville Cares board member Deborah Covington. “We only learned about this event last month, and I like that with the music and the food and the cars, there is something for everyone.”
Jody Bender, who works as the director of community engagement for Loaves & Fishes, said she too appreciated the support and was very optimistic about the future of her organization.
“We’re just coming off a record year where we served 4,600 families,” she said. “This is also ‘National Hunger Action Month,’ so we’re hoping this will help raise awareness. I feel this is a very unique event, and we’re fortunate to have great partners. I think the cars themselves are stunning.”
Ray McMahon of Naperville was another of the car enthusiasts who came Saturday to show off his 1936 Ford Club Cabriolet, which he has owned for 25 years. McMahon said he also owns a ’31 Model-A Ford and that he was willing to bring out his Cabriolet only because he wanted to support the event.
“The last time I brought this car to a show was 2004 at the Last Fling but I felt this was something that represents a good cause,” he said.
Briggs said he believes that car shows are mostly about nostalgia, but that they also are helping to create a new audience.
“A lot of people, especially the Baby Boomers, come out to these shows to relive their youth and a lot of memories,” Briggs said. “But you also see a lot of kids looking at the old cars. There’s a lot of history there.”