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Linwood the place to go Cruisin’ with the Stars

The seventh annual Cruisin’ with the Stars event will feature something old, something new, something borrowed, and likely even something blue.

For the old, expect to see at least 70 classic cars from car clubs across the province.

Jeff Wicks, event chairman and president of the Linwood Rod and Gun Club, said car clubs from Windsor to Burlington will be there to show off their wheels.

“We get people more and more every year from places we never thought they’d come from,” said Wicks. “I invited 36 car clubs. Usually we have at least 70 cars. One year we had 120.”

For the new, there will be a dunk tank, and Ford vehicles to test drive. Ford will donate to the community and The Canadian Mental Health Association for every test drive.

“This year we’re trying to turn the focus more to family fun,” said Wicks. “We’ve got a dunk tank. We’ve had the bouncy castle that’s been done for the last few years, the bake sale table that’s been done the past three or four years. We have pony rides with the local pony club.”

There will also be a bouncy castle, face painting, and kids meal.

For something borrowed, they’re bringing in mighty machines this year. Wicks said that’s aimed at entertaining children and will include transport trucks, dump trucks, backhoes, and other large machinery.

“The first year we did this we had 500 people show up,” said Wicks. Weather controls the attendance. We’re shifting the gears away from just an antique car show to a family fun day.”

He said the classic car show has been done by The Linwood Rod and Gun Club for about 12 years and turned into the Cruisin’ with the Stars event, six years ago, when attendance numbers for the car show were dropping.

The whole purpose is to raise money for the club, the Linwood Lions Club, the Linwood fire station, and the Linwood Recreation Committee.

“One year we raised money to buy one of those infrared [cameras], so after the building’s burnt down you go down and look for the hot spots so it doesn’t restart,” said Wicks of a project for the fire station. “Another year after the five firemen died in Listowel we got the extension ladder that comes off the truck.”

He said because they’re privately funded they had to go out and buy one. It cost $20,000. Another year they sponsored a local baseball team who made it to nationals in Nova Scotia.

As for the something blue, maybe one of the Elvis impersonators will strap on some blue suede shoes. All the tribute artists perform for free and will be singing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’ve had entertainers wanting to come back year after year because they had such a good time.”

He said there will also be vendors there for the first time, selling parts for the antique autos. The event runs from 9-5 on June 21 at the Linwood Recreation Complex. Admission is $5 for anyone over the age of 16.

And last, but certainly not least, Wicks said the firemen will be cooking their infamous barbecued chicken.

“It’s one of the best out there,” said Wicks. “You get a whole half chicken dinner with potato salad and bun and everything for $12.”

After everything was said and done, they raised $5,600 last year. He said rain in the morning kept attendance down but it was still their most profitable year.

“If it doesn’t rain it can double your attendance,” said Wicks. “Our goal is to start seeing more families, have a good day of weather, everyone has a good time.”

Some of the musicians the artists will be paying tribute to include Johnny Cash, Elton John, John Denver, and of course, Elvis.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.”

For more information visit www.cruisinwiththestars.com.

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