BERLIN - The American Legion Post 68 will be hosting its annual car show, but this year with a new, local twist.
After the Connecticut Corvette Club, which had partnered with the legion post for a car show the past five years, decided to move on to bigger venues, Legion Commander Vinny Trigila said, this year the show is being run with the Over the Hill Gang, Eastern Chapter.
“It’s going to be a good time dancing to music, checking out cars,” said Trigila.
“This is a new one,” said Tat Hays, president of the gang, which holds about five car shows a year with its 35 members. The biggest one is held at Cabela’s in East Hartford, she said.
Also as part of a new twist this year, the show will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Karen Cote’s recently formed non-profit Hero Boxes.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Cote, a Berlin resident. Her organization collects donations of household items like magazines, snacks and q-tips, to gift wrap and ship them over to soldiers overseas during the holidays.
The community comes together to help package everything on Thanksgiving, before they are shipped to a soldier who is the child of a mother that Cote has made a connection with.
“It’s like Christmas overseas for them,” said Trigila.
After starting the idea in 2015 when her son was deployed to Kuwait, the group has since collected 743 boxes of gifts to send. The group in April also sent around 100 boxes as a supplemental shipment to soldiers, with the Berlin Lions club helping pay the $2,000 cost of shipping, Cote said.
Hays said she went to the last gift wrapping and boxing session in November and realized she wanted to help Cote. She then went to the legion to ask for a way to fundraise, and the car show partnership was born.
“We have several veterans in our Over the Hill Gang,” Hays said.
“I myself was overwhelmed with the amount of people there,” said Trigila of the last event in November at the New Britain VFW. He said the nephew of his son in law was the recipient of a box.
Helping local causes is one of the efforts the legion post is making to be more community service and veteran assistance oriented, Trigila added.
The show, which is expected to have about 200 cars, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 24 at the American Legion and is free and open to the public.
With old classics all the way up to the modern models, there is a $10 entry fee for cars and motorcycles are not a part this year.
Fifteen trophies will be given out based on two judges from the Over the Hill Gang and two from the Legion. A larger best in show trophy will also be given out.
Hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries, plus more from the Ladies Auxiliary, will be offered. A 50/50 raffle, and raffle prizes consisting of gift cards and automobile care things, will also be available to help with the fundraising, Trigila said. A DJ will be playing the 50s and 60s classic hits.
A rain date for the show is set for July 8.
“We’re going to make sure this is going to happen one way or another,” said Trigila.
Cote’s event is scheduled to be on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the New Britain VFW at 7 p.m. again this year.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.