Stars and bars on show

Maggie and Mario from Cranbourne were collecting donations for the Royal Children''s Hospital while showing their 1960 Thunderbird. Thunderbirds Owners Club of Australia raised $56,000 for the Royal Childrens Hospital last year. 190283_01 Pictures: ROB CAREW

By Kyra Gillespie

Over 850 squeaky-clean American classic cars and trucks roared in to the quiet town of Gembrook on Sunday 17 February for the All American Car Display and Man Cave Alley.

Held at the Gembrook Recreation Reserve, the event saw the footfall of around 3200 visitors according to event organiser Peter Brock, who said the continually-evolving event was a great success.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve the experience for our display cars and spectators. Over the last three years we have added a ‘Man Cave Alley’ market stall theme selling a variety of products that would appeal to owners of display cars and also our spectators,” Mr Brock said.

“We’ve also increased the number and variety of food vendors, added a children’s giant slide, increased the availability of off street parking, and involved local sporting clubs to assist them in their local fundraising efforts.

“The Gembrook Cricket Club continues to provide everyone with a wonderful BBQ option, whilst this year the Gembrook Football Club assisted with spectator parking. Overall, it was a great day for the All American Car Display and for Gembrook.”

Now in its 26th year, the ‘All American Car Display and Man Cave Alley’ has long been regarded as a ‘can’t miss’ local event.

“Our event has grown in popularity these last few years. Four years ago we had approximately 500 display cars and we’re now showing more than 850.

“This growth in numbers has resulted in additional space being required hence our decision to use the adjacent paddock for spectator parking and only use the oval and surrounds for our fabulous display cars.”

The event is a major annual fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Emerald and District and is held in conjunction with the Thunderbirds Rod & Custom Club.

All money raised through the event will be directed to a range of local and international Rotary projects.

“This event is a major fundraiser for a number of community organisations, such as the Rotary Club of Emerald & District, the Thunderbird Rod & Custom Car Club, Gembrook Cricket Club and this year, the Gembrook Football and Netball Club.

“The Rotary Club receives the gate takings but also has to pay the event costs. This year we had increased costs caused by hiring additional portable toilets, event signage, waste management personnel and traffic management.

“Although these costs reduced the available gate takings, the event wouldn’t have worked as well as it did without them. We will also continue to explore ways to encourage more display cars and spectators to attend our event and hopefully stay longer to enjoy the local hospitality.

Mr Brock encourages all locals interested in strengthening their connection with the community to check out the Emerald Rotary and District website.

“Rotary is a fantastic way of meeting new people and supporting the local community so if you are interested in joining, please visit online to find out how you can join.”

While the majority of the event went off without a hitch, a heavy police presence was on site following reports that a car worth $70,000 was stolen from the show.

Emerald Police said an orange 1967 Camaro, which was parked outside the Gembrook Recreation Reserve on Sunday 17 February, was stolen from the premises.

Anyone with information should call Emerald Police Station on 5954 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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