Carter County Car Club will have first of two shows downtown Saturday

By Rozella Hardin
STAR STAFF
rhardin@starhq.com

   Hotrods, street rods, classics, antiques, and pure American muscle -- the Carter County Car Club will have its annual car show this Saturday afternoon and evening in the downtown.
   "This will be a kickoff to the annual Covered Bridge Celebration," said Jack Tester, president of the car club. "We have two shows each year, and this is the first of the two. We're hoping for good weather, lots of cars, and a big turnout."
   The club has another show in the fall at Big Lots in the Betsy Town Shopping Center.
   Through the two shows, the car club raises money for the East Tennessee Christian Home. "Through past car shows, we've raised money to take the children at the home shopping for school clothes as well as Christmas shopping. We've also purchased blankets and linens for the home," Tester said.
   Since the club began in April having its cruise-ins downtown, the attendance and participation has grown weekly. Show cars come from neighboring counties as well as nearby states such as South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. "We hope to have as many as 200 to 250 cars to participate in Saturday's show," said Tester.
   The passion for old cars extends beyond the car club membership. "Look at all the people who come downtown for the cruise-ins. The past two Saturday nights, the street and sidewalks have been full of people. A lot of people enjoy old cars. They like the storytelling and reminiscing," Tester said. "There are a lot of children who attend the shows with their parents and the idea is to instill the bug in them. We have people of all ages -- young and old -- who attend the Saturday night cruise-ins. It's good, clean fun.
   "It is a family event, as many families not only participate in the cruise-ins, but attend the cruise-ins each Saturday," Tester added.
   The Saturday car show will feature many different makes and models spanning the gamut of time from the 1920s to cars of the new millennium, expensive show cars and broken down fixer-uppers.
   Awards will be given for cars in each category as well as best in show.
   Tester said the Carter County Car Club is for people who love cars and who love to be around them.
   "Most everybody out here on Saturday night see the cars as big toys. We all have the same interest and it doesn't make any difference if the cars are sport compacts, antiques, hotrods, or muscle cars," said Tester. "We all have a common thread. It is just a lot of fun to be around people that feel the same way you do."
   Car club members say the Saturday night shows give them a chance to show off their wheels, talk shop and trade news. "It's a great way to spend time, talk, relax and have fun. It's a pretty good little Saturday night get-together," said Ron McCloud, one of the organizers of the downtown cruise-ins.
   The car show will be held in the downtown beginning at 1 p.m. until 5 :30 p.m., with sponsors of this year's show being downtown businesses. Most of the cars will stay over for the Saturday night cruise-in, Tester said. Elk Avenue will be closed at 12 noon Saturday for the show.