MORRIS – Despite an early morning downpour, about 10,000 spectators filled LyondellBasell Recreation Area to admire more than 1,000 cars that roared into the park in the early morning hours on Sunday.
“I have to say I was down and out this morning. I was up at 2:30 a.m. to have breakfast before I had to come out and I saw stars in the sky. Then 20 minutes later, the rain came out. At 5 a.m. there was drizzle and then it stopped. Some of these car guys don’t like to bring their cars out in bad weather,” car show coordinator Doug Linn said.
Sunday marked the 30-year tradition of the Morris Lions Club Fall Classic Car Show, which drew large crowds to see the classic cars, hot rods, shop the car corral for a new car and search the swap meet for those hard to find parts.
Among the spectators, judges cruised up and down the aisles to rate the vehicles within the 43 classes, such as original restored, modified, street rod, street coupe, sedan, roaster and special classes such as Mustang, Corvette, special interest and truck classes, Linn said.
“We show our 1977 Chevy pickup, but we have never been to this car show,” Donna Cook of Pontiac said. “Oh my goodness, it’s huge. We don’t know which way to go around here. We just started looking at cars and we are already in paradise.”
Each fall, the Morris Lions Club uses the car show for a fundraiser to fulfill its mission to help the community, especially the blind and deaf and also help the schools, scholarships, parks, police department and fire department, Morris Lions Club President Sandy Sowers said.
One of the major fundraisers at the show was the raffle car, which was found at the Volo Auto Museum in northern Illinois, Morris Lions Club member Tom Kinzler said. Kinzler said he and a group of eight members looked at over 3,000 cars to find a nice car, purchase and sell raffle tickets at car shows.
“This car is a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Tribute car and 100 percent of the profits from this car go back into our local community,” Kinzler said.
Kinzler said that on top of the many community organization and scholarships the club provides, this year the club has decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity and plant over 300 trees in tornado-devastated areas.
He said that the car raffle provides $20,000-$25,000 each year, with a total of $40,000 for the entire car show, and an average of $150,000 was raised each year by the Morris Lions Club to fund its giving.
This year’s show was held two weeks later than the normal date, but will resume its normal scheduled date of the second Sunday in October for the 2017 show, which falls on Oct. 8.