Don’t be surprised if Moab’s roads seem to be taken over by a time warp this weekend.
When the Moab Rotary Club hosts its 24th annual Moab April Action Car Show in Swanny City Park on Saturday, April 30, bygone-era traffic on Main Street will mean a brighter future for Moab.
Admission is free to spectators, and all proceeds from donations and participant fees will benefit the Rotary Club’s community nonprofit support fund, which focuses this year on the Moab Free Health Clinic.
Every dollar raised by the car show will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $1 from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Moab Rotary Club Car Show Committee chair John Fogg said.
“It’s a great fit for the Rotary Club,” Fogg said. “The mission of the clinic matches the original Rotary objective of eradicating polio, which has now become a focus on public health in general.”
The Rotary Club is supporting the free health clinic in raising funds for construction of a larger and better-equipped clinic building, he said.
Participants have been delighted to support the organization, he said, with many donating funds in addition to their entrance fees. The car enthusiasts come from across the country, and even British Columbia, bringing rare and antique vehicles representing the whole spectrum of eras and technologies of automobile history, Fogg said.
People are drawn to cars for many reasons, not the least of which is the fun of tinkering, he said, mentioning a friend and longtime car show participant who has been working on his car for 22 years.
“I think he doesn’t want it to be done. It gives him something to do if he doesn’t have anything else to do,” Fogg joked.
One car he is looking forward to seeing is a 1948 Packard, he said. The machines were so well-built, he said, that the manufacturer quickly went out of business because its cars never needed to be replaced.
“Car shows are about nostalgia,” he said. “Growing up in the 50s was a unique experience. Fun and entertainment was less complicated. The culture of the time really revolved around the automobile.”
Everything from fast food to drive-in movies was inextricably entwined with the smell of burning fuel and the feel of mohair seats.
“It just kind of takes you back to your youth,” he said.
Fogg bought his own first muscle car with money he earned while deployed for a year to Vietnam, he said, but sold that original Mustang when he married soon after, so he and his wife could start a family. He bought his replacement Mustang after attending the first Moab Car Show, and has collected another eight since.
With its wide participant appeal and high public visibility, the car show has been a great fundraiser for the Moab Rotary Club since it took over the event in 2012, said Moab Rotary Club Board of Directors member and Car Show Committee member Doug McElhaney.
“It’s permanent, it’s visible and it brings people to town,” McElhaney said. “All of which means Rotary gets to give more money back to the community.”
While this year’s car show will primarily benefit the free health clinic, the Moab Rotary Club supports many other community endeavors, like the Bee Inspired Garden Project and the skate park, among others.
Rotary also makes a major impact on education in Moab, funding vocational scholarships for individual students, sponsoring international students to study in the U.S. and local students studying abroad, sponsoring Grand County High School’s highly anticipated annual graduation party, and helping fund the nonprofit Grand County Education Foundation.
“If we can spend our time doing something fun and make the most money for the community, it’s a win-win,” McElhaney said. “People want to help, they just want you to tell them how.”
Participants to gather at Swanny Park on April 30
“Car shows are about nostalgia … Growing up in the 50s was a unique experience. Fun and entertainment was less complicated. The culture of the time really evolved around the automobile.”
When: Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1; the main event for spectators will be held on Saturday, April 30
Where: Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West
Cost: Free to spectators
For more information, go to: moab21.com/moab_car_show.