blank 09/04/09 01:51PM 10th Annual LAbor Day Car Show in Clifton, Clifton for Labor Day, Richard King Memorial Chili Cook Off

Chrome and Chili Collide in Clifton
Labor Day Car Show helps local charities.

The Town of Clifton is the place to be on Labor Day for classic cars, chili, live bands and fun.

Rain or shine, the 10th Annual Labor Day Car Show take place Monday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., all along Main Street. The Richard King Memorial Chili Cook Off is slated for 2-6 p.m., in the field by the barn at 7139 Main St. In addition, the bands Slider, Smallwood and Friends, and The Lost Highway Band will perform there from 12-5 p.m.

The Clifton Lions Club will be cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, and Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot and The Clifton Store will be open for business. Attendees may peruse the vehicles at their leisure, while chatting with their owners and listening to 1950s and ‘60s music played by a deejay.

Commemorative, car-show T-shirts will be sold, plus car-related items including sponsor-personalized fender covers. At noon will be the raising of the flag by the Fairfax County Police Honor Guard and the singing of the national anthem. Sometime during the show, if possible, will be a flyover by a police helicopter.

Vying for 35 trophies will be everything from hot rods to custom-built motorcycles to antique, muscle and classic cars. "Thirty trophies will be People’s Choice awards, voted on by the participants," said event organizer Jim Chesley. "The other five will be picked by the sponsors, the Clifton Lions Club and the Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia."
Admission is free to spectators — a nominal parking fee will go toward rebuilding the flood-damaged, Masonic Lodge in Clifton. For participants, vehicle registration that day starts at 7 a.m. and costs $15. They may also enter at

Last year’s event featured 400 vehicles on display. Proceeds always go to charity, and this year’s recipients are Life with Cancer and the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP).

"Facing cancer can be one of the most significant challenges a person encounters," said Chesley. "Life with Cancer has been an integral part of the health care community since 1986, working to help people by providing information, education and support. Funded primarily by community contributions and events such as our car show, the programs and services are offered free of charge to people with cancer, their relatives and friends, regardless of where treatment is received."

"The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program provides therapeutic horseback riding services to improve the lives of those who are challenged physically, mentally and emotionally," said Chesley. "Horseback riding has been shown to be one of the most beneficial forms of recreation for people with all types of disabilities." This program is accredited and nationally recognized by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.

"We’re very honored that they’re sharing the proceeds with us," said Breeana Bornhorst, executive director of the NVTRP. "Our program is at the Full Cry Farm in Clifton, and the Clifton community has been very supportive."

Essentially, she said, any funds received "help us take care of our horses and make sure we’re able to operate. We teach horseback riding and work with children and adults with disabilities, at-risk youth and disabled veterans."

"Many of the riders have physical, intellectual or emotional challenges," said Bornhorst. "So being able to ride a horse has huge benefits to muscle strength, coordination and balance. It also builds confidence, and the riders build relationships with the horses, which are accepting of them."
Joanne Royaltey, director of development for Life with Cancer, part of Inova Health System’s cancer services, is also delighted that her organization will receive some money from the car show. "It is such an honor," she said. "The guys in the Clifton Lions Club are absolutely terrific. They’re so committed to raising money for charity."

"In these difficult economic times, I really appreciate their trying to help us," said Royaltey. "Their gift really makes a difference."

She said Life with Cancer offers an array of educational, dance, exercise and nutrition classes, counseling, support groups and art therapy for children and adults "to help people through their journey with cancer. The support really impacts their quality of life and adds hope to their days. I see how wonderful folks feel once they come in and realize, ‘I can do this.’"

The proceeds from the car show, said Royaltey, would help fund the children’s programs, such as art therapy, through which they can express their feelings, guided by a counselor. "We’re able to help them regain some of their joy," she said. "And the only way all these programs can remain free is if we have community support."

Tax-deductible contributions to either organization may be sent via checks payable to the Clifton Lions Club, c/o Jim Chesley, 7207 Main St., Clifton, VA 20124-0225. "We’ll take anything, no matter how small," he said. "There’ll also be a donations jar at the show."

For more information about the show or becoming a sponsor, contact Chesley at 703-830-2129 or, or Rusty at 703-595-0395. Besides the Custom Cruisers and the Lions Club, other sponsors are the Clifton Betterment Association (CBA) and The Northern Virginia Chili Pod. To learn more about this year’s charitable recipients, see and

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