Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Fourth of July in Fredericksburg, VA

Our car club, Stafford Classics, had been asked to put on a 'car thing' by Roberta Gold the director of the Heritage Festival in Fredericksburg, VA. Brent accepted for us and the work began April 8, 2008. I volunteered to lead the effort because the Princess and I feel strongly about providing a positive experience for all the participants of the event as well as all the spectators. And this gave the Princess and I an opportunity to provide exposure to our favorite charity, Wounded Warrior Project. This had to be a melding of personalities as well as display cars. Yes, 'display', cars....this was not going to be another car show. Based on our two years of being participants in this show we felt it would better represent the car community by being a display. A display of cars showing the chronological evolution of the American was born the event title. American Automobile Heritage Invitational....whew....that took a lot of extra typing with that long title but it was very descriptive of what the effort should be. We started gathering cars that would work in the display and within a month we had over 40 cars and started registering back up cars. We secured a major sponsor, Virginia Paving, that thought the fit was natural with and roads....seemed natural to us too! We also had some minor sponsors, Purvis Ford, Crown Trophy, Refinish Solutions and Fredericksburg Distributing Co. All the sponsors helped but Virginia Paving helped the most with money and their presence at the event. They set up a display for, what else, paving! It was very informative and interesting....their display always had someone standing and looking at the brochures and samples and asking questions. It was a natural fit!

The event started inauspiciously when the Princess and I arrived at the lot at 5:30 AM....three abandoned cars and 3 Fredericksburg Police cars were already there! The lot was posted so no cars were to be there but the police said they didn't know how long the postings had been up so they could not tow the abandoned cars! That would really mess up our parking grid. I got a little upset and the police Sgt talked to his Captain....who evidently talked to someone else and the roll backs started showing up to remove the derelict cars! We parked the Princess's 33, set up her canopy, set out the two chests of water and Gatorade for the staff and participants. Then we set up the extra canopy....and then the rest of the event staff started arriving. Since it was gong to be a display instead of a show the biggest thing we had to do was make sure the parking was done to best display the yearly order of the cars. So the event staff consisted of 3 parking directors, Andrew, Tony and Dan....the music/MC/announcer guy, Brent and me, waving my arms around and the Princess laughing and pointing at my socks! Brent, with his wife and sons, ran a SnoCone deal that did very well too. Wounded Warrior Project representatives, Ray and Terry Phillips arrived with their race car and trailer and set it up near the sidewalk. The display cars began arriving, beginning with David and his patriotically painted 2006 Mustang....we had a very diverse collection of cars from Dom's 1915 Ford Model T to Stuart's 2006 GT-40. We had Wyatt's DeLorean complete with the flux capacitor! At 1PM all the participants came up to the mike to receive their commemorative award for bringing their car to the event and for sharing their passion of cars to the general public. Most of the time we just take our cars to 'car shows' where most of the people are 'car people' our event most of the people were non-car people that were just curious about the cars or had stories about the cars when they were younger....a good time reminiscing. We gave our premier sponsor, Virginia Paving, an award for stepping up being our premier sponsor. Virginia Paving picked one car that in their opinion represented the spirit of the American automobile heritage and gave the owner a very nice silver heritage cup. They picked Dom's 1915 Ford Model T....This car is what started us on our adventure with the really is representative of our 'car culture'. And Dom has an exceedingly large passion for sharing his car with anyone that has an interest in it, especially kids....of course if Patty wasn't always cleaning and polishing the Ford, nobody would want to get near it! After the awards were given out the event was 'officially' over. Since there was rain coming from the north and west, those that had driven a long way to the event started to leave. Some came from Culpepper, VA....Mechanicsville, VA....Bumpass, VA....Spotsylvania, VA....Annappolis, MD....Ladysmith, VA....Triangle, VA....Manassas, VA....Nokesville, VA....Falls Church, VA....Fredericksburg, VA....and Stafford, VA. Most of us stayed till 3PM but began packing up shortly after that. The event was perfect and we are planning the one for 2009 right now! Please check out the pictures on my webshots website for a better description of the cars and the can also see where the mothership landed on Tony's fender was a very good day for Wounded Warrior Project, the Heritage Festival and for our club.

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