Perhaps starting with the "who" and "why" is the best place to start, and will eventually lead us to the "how and "what."
As you noticed, "A Pontiac Celebration– 2010" had a two fold purpose. For all us Pontiac hobbyists, there was a need to "celebrate" the car and hobby that we all love so much after the kick in the buns we received with the announcement of Pontiac’s demise. Like a good Irish wake, we weren’t going to sit around and cry the blues... we were going to celebrate. But beyond that, "we" (I’ll introduce everyone soon) were going to put our Pontiac hobby to good use helping others who need our assistance– and so "Pontiacs with a Purpose"was born ... "Pontiac Enthusiasts Support the Fight Against Childhood Cancer."
I (Larry Kummer, your humble PontiacRegistry.com servant) am a cancer survivor of six years now, and could never imagine how children go through what I did– so I wanted to do something to help. Rick DiGiacomo, our Rhode Island "point man" without whom we could never have done what we did, has been supporting fund raising through shows and golf tournaments for a number of years to help The Tomorrow Fund as a thank you for their support of his family during the cancer battle that claimed his young grandson.
One thing lead to another as we visited off and on, and the idea for a show in Rhode Island to support Rick’s cancer charity (The Tomorrow Fund), and my PontiacRegistry.com supported charity (Alex’s Lemonade Stand) took shape. But we did not do this all by ourselves. Ideas, plans, donations to get started, logistics were needed.... a key group was formed.
Besides me and Rick, we could not have done the work without the help from Graham Webber of Bedfordshire, England, Doug Klein of Long Island, NY, Steve Peluso of Dedham, MA, and Don Bougher of Salem, OR. Thank god for e-mail! Further helping with the plans as well as with working during the event were Bob and Judy Cobb, Mike and Joan Daugherty, Ray Hogan and Arleen Cello, Phil and Gwen Randolph, Marge Sawruk and son John, Noel Evans ... and many, many more who so graciously stepped up and helped.
Our thanks to everyone. Additional thanks to the many Pontiac Clubs from the surrounding area for their support, promotion, and participation. They are: the New England Fiero Association, the National Firebird & Trans Am Club, the Pioneer Valley GTO Club, the Connecticut GTO Club, and the Long Island GTO Club (all GTOAA chapters), the Charter Oaks Firebird Club, the Nutmeg, the Yankee, and the Long Island Chapters of POCI.Many more form other local clubs came out to support too.
The others who we have to thank are the many individuals and companies who gave so generously to support this event by purchasing advertising in our Event Booklet, sponsoring trophies and trophy classes, and donating items for our raffles. On the top of this list are our main Event Sponsor and Show Sponsors.
First and foremost, we thank Mark Kaufman from Pontiac Enthusiast magazine for his help with event advertising and support. While we are all sad to see PE being discontinued, we will never forget their help! Our Show Sponsors who generously donated to support our event were: NiteMare Performance & Restoration of North Haven, CT, a premier Pontiac shop; SMS Auto Fabrics of Canby, OR, the leader in interior restoration materials; Competitive Automotive of Warwick, RI, GM restoration specialists; Ames Performance Engineering of Spofford, NH, serving Pontiac enthusiasts for 34 years; RockAuto.com, a worldwide on-line automotive parts supplier; and Original Parts Group of Seal Beach, CA, supplying Pontiac restoration and performance parts.
Those who donated gifts and items to raffle were far too numerous to list completely. However, one person very special to all Pontiac hobbyists, who donated raffle items was Marge Sawruk. She generously donated items from John Sawruk’s personal stash of Pontiac treasures. John was a great supporter of the Pontiac hobby, and also worked to raise funds for and awareness of cancer research. We lost John all too soon to cancer, but some of his items will now go on to help others, as he would have wanted.
Another person who deserves very special mention is Robert Hoyle. Robert ("Bob") is an attorney in Bradenton, Florida who generously donated his condo on Anna Maria Island for us to build upon as a "Florida Vacation Getaway Raffle Package." And what a package we were able to put together! Besides the 5-days/4-nights on the Island, we put together many dinner gift certificates, gift shop certificates, museum passes, and other popular attraction tickets. The Florida raffle was a huge success, thanks to Bob’s generosity, and raised a good deal of money for our children’s charities. The lucky winner was retired Judge J. Savago from upstate New York, who was coincidently heading for Englewood,Florida (just south of Anna Maria Island) in October. Now he can enjoy some more time on the Island before heading back to the New York winter, just around the corner. Congratulations to the Judge.
Now, to quote Beetlejuice... "It’s Show Time!"
The Friday afternoon registration time could not have gone smoother. But that was not by accident. Rick, wife Lucille, and numerous family and friend helpers had everything in place and ready to roll. The only worry we had was the weather. Friday was supposed to be all sun shinny and clear sky after a front blew through. But good old Mother Nature was running behind schedule and Friday was a bit gray. However, by the time the evening rolled around, all was nice and our "Teddy Bear Cruise" to the host hotel was on. The parking lot soon filled up with Pontiacs that had arrived during the day, and local cruisers of all makes and models. As requested, participants brought children’s toys and gifts and made generous contributions throughout the night. A group of very attractive girls from a local college sorority "worked the crowd" Friday night and during the Saturday show for donations. Other hard workers included Rick’s daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren who operated our Lemonade Stand and generated over $225.00 in donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation for childhood cancer. Our thanks also to the Crowne Plaza host hotel for donating the lemonade and fixings.
Saturday dawned to blue skies and beautiful, mild temperatures– dare we say "A perfect day for a car show?!" Sure, there were clouds, but just the kind that kept you from taking a souvenir sunburn home. The beautiful grassy, rolling field filled quickly with Pontiacs of every type. And, vendors and arts & crafts artisans began setting up for everyone to enjoy. As beautiful Pontiacs were made even more beautiful with continued rubbing and polishing, voting for their favorites got under way... to some stiff competition too.
Before we forget, there is one additional person we have to compliment, and give a huge thanks to... that is "Cruizin’ Bruce Palmer" who from Friday night through Saturday, not only entertained the crowds with great music (a wide variety, not just doo-wop like at some shows), but also conducted our raffle drawings at the outside show field tent Saturday afternoon, and emceed our awards presentations after the dinner BBQ on Saturday night. Bruce is far more than a record spinner. He is a true professional entertainer– and best of all, a real car lover.
And speaking of car lovers, "A Pontiac Celebration– 2010" was a big success thanks to all the great Pontiac hobbyists– all 175 of them– who brought their pride and joys out for a great day... for a great cause. We thank everyone who participated, and look forward to seeing each and every one many more times as we travel our Pontiac world.
Following a long day, many met again Sunday for a full-spread Farewell Breakfast. Overheard were many comments of the great show, followed by remarks like "I can’t wait for next year’s show." For now, the dust hasn’t even settled. And, most of us are just getting our second wind after a whirlwind of activity.
We will be bringing you more coverage of the show in more articles, as well as develop a special spot on our website for postings of the event. Preliminary accountings show that we did VERY well raising donations of approximately $8,000.00 for our two children’s cancer charities, plus a huge amount of children’s toys and gifts that were donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Again, we thank all who helped and participated in our Celebration of this Great Pontiac Hobby!