08/27/09 02:16PM Antique and Vintage Cars, Clifton Car Show, Custom Cars, Motorcycles, Muscle and Classic Cars, street rods

Clifton Car Show on Sept. 7
By Bonnie Hobbs Thursday, August 27, 2009

Featuring street rods, custom and antique cars, muscle and classic cars, and motorcycles, the 10th Annual Labor Day Car Show will be held Monday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., in Clifton. Sponsored by the Clifton Lions Club and the Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia, it will go on, rain or shine.

The show attracts people from all over the Washington Metropolitan area. All shiny paint and gleaming chrome, a wide array of vehicles will be parked up and down Main Street, with hoods up and engines open for inspection. Attendees may peruse them at their leisure, while chatting with their owners and listening to 1950s and ‘60s music played by a deejay.

People will be able to get an up-close look at vehicles such as a 1908 Buick, 1929 Model-A postal truck, 1950s hot rods, custom-built motorcycles and classic antique cars like a 1957 Chevrolet in mint condition.

"We’ll have some of the best vehicles that day within 150 miles," said event organizer Jim Chesley. "It’s nostalgia — people like to see those cars they used to have or wanted to have. And this is just a neat setting. People like that old, small-town feeling, and the cars fit right in."
Each year, the proceeds go to charity, and the recipients this time are Life with Cancer and the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. And Chesley hopes to raise lots of money for them.

"This year, times are tough and I’m getting less donations," he said. "But I don’t know anybody who hasn’t been touched — either directly or through family members — by cancer. That’s why it’s important to support Life with Cancer, which supports families of cancer patients and helps them cope. And at the Therapeutic Riding Program, kids who have either emotional or physical disabilities can get up on a horse and become whole. While they’re on horseback, they’re in control."

ALSO PART of the car-show festivities is the Richard King Memorial Chili Cook Off, from 2-6 p.m., in the field by the barn at 7139 Main St. In addition, live bands — Smallwood and Friends, Slider and The Lost Highway Band — will perform there from noon-5 p.m.

"There’ll be plenty of food that day," said Chesley. "The Lions Club cooks hamburgers and hot dogs, and all proceeds go to the two charities." Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot and The Clifton Store will also be open for business. 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. And sometime during the show, if possible, will be a flyover by the police helicopter. Checks will be presented to the charities at 2:15 p.m., and trophies awarded, at 2:30 p.m.

"This year, we have about 35 trophies — and 30 will be People’s Choice awards, voted on by the participants," said Chesley. "The other five will be picked by the Lions Club and the Custom Cruisers."

There’s also a change, this year. "In the past, we had just one Best of Show out of the 30, participant-picked trophies," he said. "But because there are so many good vehicles, we decided this time to have five Best of Shows."

Some 2,500 people attended the 2008 car show. 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 www.customcruisersnova.com.

"Cars, trucks, motorcycles — anything on wheels, to make money for charity — is welcome," said Chesley. "We had close to 400 show vehicles last year."

But the participants’ entry fees go toward the $4,000 cost of putting on the show. So, said Chesley, "We only make money from donations." The car show began in 2000 and, that year, the total profit was less than $100. But in 2008, it made $30,000, with most of the money going to Life With Cancer.

Over the last several years, this show has also supported Old Dominion Eye Bank, Children’s National Medical Center, the Fairfax County Police Family Trust Fund — for slain officers Vicky Armel and Mike Garbarino — and Hurricane Katrina victims. Since that first show, 10 years ago, the car show has raised more than $128,000 for these and other local charities.

HOWEVER, CONTRIBUTIONS are still needed for this year’s show. They’re 100-percent tax-deductible, and those wishing to support a different charity or entity than the two designated, this year, need only make a notation on their check and their total donation will go to that, specified cause.

Donations 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."

Making this show a reality each year, said Chesley, gives him a great feeling. "My passion is old cars and trucks," he said. "I’ve loved them since I was a child. And when I can turn my passion into something that will make money for charity and help kids with disabilities, it gives me an extra feeling of accomplishment. Our antique vehicles help people in ways they never did before, and that’s why we put on this car show."