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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019 3 weeks ago

Winter Garden car show celebrates 10 years

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The Cruz ’N Car Show will celebrate ten years of classic cars Saturday Sept. 21.
by: Hannah Swayze News Editor

Winter Garden’s classic cars show will celebrate 10 years of shows this weekend. 

Saturday Sept. 21 will mark one decade of the Winter Garden’s Cruz ’N Car Show. Four times a year, more than 200 classic show cars flood the streets of the city’s historic downtown. 

Organizer Jennifer Johnston has been with the event since its inception. Today, the event is hosted by the city of Winter Garden and sponsored by various local merchants. 

“The downtown historic area of Winter Garden is the perfect backdrop for all of the cars that come to the event,” Johnston said. 

The free family show starts at 4 p.m., when the cars begin rolling onto the streets of downtown Winter Garden.

Johnston will be on-hand to serve as a “voice on the streets” for the show. 

“We have predominantly classic cars but also have some newer show cars (and) some muscle cars that can come, too,” Johnston said. “The cool part about it is at the 4 p.m. start time … it’s kind of like a parade of cars starting down the street.”

Johnston, who has two classic cars herself, works other car shows in the area and said the Cruz ’N Car Show is for car enthusiasts of all ages. 

Commemorative 10-year anniversary T-shirts with a special design will be sold during the event. Attendees also are encouraged to explore the local area and support local businesses.

“It’s a great thing to come out and enjoy,” Johnston said. “Bring the family out, enjoy the merchants (and) the restaurants.”

Show organizers always try to give back to the local community at each show. 

In the past, the show has hosted things such as teddy bear drives to give to local first-responders to give to children on the job. During the June show earlier this year, organizers collected 75 backpacks full of school supplies for local students. 

“We try always to leave a mark to say, ‘thank you’ to Winter Garden,” Johnston said. 

In addition, 50/50 raffle tickets will be for sale at the show. At the end of the day, half the money raised will go to the winner, and the other half will be donated to support a local nonprofit. 

“That’s what we like the most,” Johnston said. “It’s not just about coming and showing off the cars. It’s about giving back to the community, as well.”

SHOW YOUR CAR
Anyone who would like to enter their car into the show can register the day of the event as staging begins downtown at 2 p.m. on Plant Street. Priority will be given to classic, show-quality cars built in 1987 or older. City staff will direct the newer muscle cars and cruisers on Plant Street to their starting positions during staging. 

There are no cash prizes for cars, but several will be chosen as “sponsor picks” and given trophies. 

“They’re not judging,” Johnston said. “They’re saying, ‘Those are the cars I’d like to have sitting in my driveway at home.’”

The show always is looking for sponsors. Interested parties can connect with show organizers through the event’s Facebook page. 

“Winter Garden has something very special about it and I think that’s why this show is so special,” Johnston said. “It’s like a picture postcard when you put classic cars on the street. … There’s just something about the ambience of downtown Winter Garden.”

Hannah Swayze is the News Editor at the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. She is former staff writer of the Johnson City Press in Johnson City, Tennessee. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in media...

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