The provincial government has proclaimed July 11 and the month of July, as Collector Car Appreciation Day and Month.
The proclamation recognizes the important economic and social role that the vintage and collector car clubs play, throughout the province.
Not only do their car shows generate significant dollars in the communities where they are held, but also the profits from these shows are donated to local charities.
The Apple Valley Cruisers are one such club.
The group consists of approximately 60 members from Summerland, Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Peachland and West Kelowna.
They meet once a month at one of several restaurants in Summerland.
As well, every Thursday night throughout the summer they have a Cruise In at the local Dairy Queen.
“Every Thursday, if you drive by between 5:30 and 8 p.m., you’ll see a bunch of hot rods out there,” said club president Jacques Lefebvre.
“It’s just to hang out and have ice cream and burgers and tell stories.”
It was long time president, Gary Janzen and his wife Carol who worked hard over the years to establish the club and the Endless Summer Car Show.
The show will be held again this year on Sept. 12.
“It’s a one-day car show and all the money we make goes to charities in the Summerland area,” said Lefebvre.
There is a registration fee to enter a car in the show and 50/50 tickets are also sold to raise money. There is no admission fee for the public.
In his role as chair, Bob Kelly is in charge of getting the necessary permits from the city to hold the car show, but he is also given the task of finding sponsorship.
Kelly said last year they had 18 class awards, such as Best Hot Rod, all sponsored by local businesses. They also gave out more than 40 door prizes from locally donated items.
“Last year our club raised $3,000 that went to charity,” said Kelly. “We gave $500 just recently to a bursary for an automotive mechanic student, at the high school, to continue the trade.”
The charitable organizations that received money last year from the Apple Valley Cruisers Car Club were the Harold Simpson Youth Centre, Summerland Girl Guides, Toys and Toonies for Tots and Teens, Giant’s Head Breakfast Program, Summerland Dare Program, SADI and the Summerland Food Bank.
Apples donated by Julie Sardina were sold at the car show and the money was given to the Summerland Art Council. This was done in memory of Joe Sardina, who was a member of the car club.
The Endless Summer Car Show draws car collectors from far and wide.
“Last year we had several high end cars, one trailered in from Alberta,” said Kelly.
He also explained that “there are a few people who live here that are building cars…and they buy at local suppliers when they can.”
Kelly has been into cars since he was 12 years old, when he helped his father work on his cars.
“It’s kind of a personal identity; a car,” he said.
“The car club is a social thing for me and fortunately because of my background I could help with some of the organizing.”
Lefebvre has similar reasons for being involved with the club.
“I’ve always, always loved cars,” he said. “I love getting together and meeting other people and seeing what they’ve done with their vehicles. They all have four wheels and a steering wheel but everything from bumper to bumper is different inside.”
The Apple Valley Cruiser Car Club is open to all types of cars with no restrictions. There is a yearly family membership fee of $20.
People can choose their level of involvement with the club, with some members choosing to help out with other car shows such as the Peach City Beach Cruise.
“We’re just a happy bunch of guys and girls that meet every Thursday at Dairy Queen and once a month in a restaurant,” said Lefebvre. “All we talk about is car stuff.”
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.