Make-A-Wish benefit planned for Aug. 27

For the second year in a row, a car show to raise funds to benefit Make-A-Wish will be held rain or shine in St. Marys; however, this year's event has been moved to the parking lot of Tractor Supply, located along the Million Dollar Highway. Last year's event was held at the Edgewood. Tom Kerchinski, car show chairperson, remarked that last year's inaugural event had 38 participants and they are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year. Kerchinski said he handed out information about the event at other car shows at locations throughout Elk County and Clearfield, Jefferson and Centre counties as well. Registration for the event will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the show will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. Awards will be presented at 2 p.m. for vehicles in the event's seven different classes: antique stock car and truck, classic car and truck, modified car and truck and a motorcycle category. While there is a fee to register a vehicle for the event, there is no fee to spectate. First- and second-place prizes will be awarded after being voted on by the participants. For a small donation, spectators will be able to vote for the recipient of the people's choice award. The Crystal Fire Department is also expected to have a few vehicles on display at the event. Nancy O'Vell, event co-coordinator, remarked that the fire department "is supportive of [the car show to benefit Make-A-Wish] and they're planning on bringing a few vehicles." Kerchinski noted that the fire department's antique fire engine, as well as its new brush utility truck, will likely be at the car show. As was the case with last year's event, goodie bags will be presented to the first 50 participants at this year's event. "We got a lot of great feedback last year," O'Vell said. "Last year's participants gave a lot of feedback that said that was a really nice car show for the first year and just getting our feet wet with it and they were excited to come back for this year."O'Vell added that the move to the parking lot of Tractor Supply will also provide the added bonus of a paved parking lot for participants. "It will be nice having the paved parking lot. I mean the Edgewood was great to have, but this year we have a paved parking lot at Tractor Supply," O'Vell said. "That's going to be a big plus for the guys bringing their cars in."While the car show is a relatively new event for the Make-A-Wish fundraiser, the benefit dance, which has been a staple for the event since its inception 16 years ago, will not be held this year. Instead, following the car show, participants will be encouraged to attend Pepper Fest, an annual event held at the campground of Gary Howard in Rasselas. According to Leah Leuschel, co-coordinator of the Make-A-Wish benefit, Pepper Fest is scheduled to run from 2 to 10 p.m. "The band that we've had for the last three years [for the benefit dance] is going to be performing at Pepper Fest, so they offered [us the chance] to come down and raise money for Make-A-Wish down there," Leuschel said. Bands scheduled to perform at Pepper Fest include the Whiskey River Band and Six Pak. "We will also have a concession stand set up there and people can enter their favorite pepper recipes. They just have to bring a tasting to be crowned the Pepper Fest Best," O'Vell said. While funds for Make-A-Wish will be raised at Pepper Fest this year, O'Vell and Leuschel stressed that Pepper Fest is a separate event from their annual fundraiser. "That is a separate event," O'Vell said. "It is a completely separate event, and then some of the patrons of the Pepper Fest thought that it would be a great idea for us to go up [there] and they're looking for vendors and such. There will be contributions from the Pepper Fest that go to Make-A-Wish."While this is one of the bigger events Leuschel and O'Vell coordinate to raise funds for Make-A-Wish, the duo strives to hold various fundraisers year-round in order to provide a wish for at least one child in the tri-county area. During the course of 16 years they have been holding fundraisers, they have managed to raise over $55,000.