Car club revving up for ‘Made in the Shade’ in Elizabethtown

By Chrysta Carroll -

ELIZABETHTOWN — If 40-horsepower engines, top speeds of 45 miles per hour, or large-displacement engines get your engine running, the annual Made In the Shade Open Car & Truck Show will be a worthwhile pit stop on Saturday, Aug. 13.

In its 18th year, the show is held in front of San Jose restaurant on West Broad Street in Elizabethtown.

“We’re one of the biggest shows there is on the East Coast,” said Classic Cruisers Car Club member Myron Suggs, whose organization coordinates the event.

Last year saw about 230 cars registered, and Suggs said they are expecting anywhere from 200 to 300 again this year.

“Of course, it depends on the weather,” said Suggs, “but I think the reason people like our car show so much is because we have plenty of shade — people won’t show up on blacktop because it gets too hot — and because they can go eat and go shopping (nearby).”

Suggs may have been speculating about why spectators attend, but he was confident he knew why so many car owners bring their automobiles.

“We give away a lot of stuff,” he said.

The group gives away 80 trophies for the top pre-1986 cars or trucks, 20 trophies for the top post-1986 vehicles, and around 20 trophies for “Best of” categories (such as Best Rat Rod, Best Full Size Truck, Best Foreign, etc.). In addition, the first 250 entries will receive a Made In the Shade dash plaque.

Even though the show is going on two decades running, some kinks are still being worked out. Previously, registrants were allowed to park wherever they wished, prepare their car for judging, and walk around looking at other cars or even leaving the site for lunch or shopping. Judging proved difficult, however, because random parking made it impossible to ascertain which cars had already been judged, and vehicles ended up being judged multiple times. For this reason, last year’s event ran late, and, after receiving feedback from entrants, the organizers made a couple of tweaks.

“Parking is going to be a little bit different this year,” said Suggs. “We’ll be parking cars together as they come in so we can go ahead and judge them. So if people want to park together, they need to come in together.”

In addition to the delay caused by rejudging, a computer glitch last year ate up more time, and, while the group can’t do anything about the latter, they are hoping to alleviate the former so that they can stay on schedule this year, beginning judging at noon and awarding trophies at 3 p.m. No pre-registration is required, but vehicles need to be ready for judging by noon.

For spectators wanting to make a day of it, lunch, — which Suggs called “good fried chicken” — snacks, and a variety of vendors will be available on site.

The event is not all fun and games, however — it’s a fundraiser. Proceeds from the event support the Bladen Journal’s Empty Stocking Fund, Bladen We Care, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, and Relay for Life.

“Every dime is given away,” said Suggs.

The rain date for the event is Aug. 20.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll

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