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5th annual car show revs motors for a good cause

Shiny motor vehicles both modern and antique will soon rumble into Hampstead for the 5th Annual Matthews Tire Community Car Show June 28.

The show features live music, food, free admission for the public and a chance to view and vote on your favorite show vehicles, according to Mark Wright, co-owner of Matthews Tire Company. The event is also a fundraiser that will go toward the rebuilding of Lazarus Church in Lineboro, which burned down in early December.

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"We usually do a charity every year ... We've done [the North East Social Action Program] the past four years and this year we are going with the church since they had such a tragedy," Wright said. "We originally started with a car show because the theme of car related stuff. Then we decided that any proceeds should go to a charitable organization. Each year from now we will probably change [the beneficiary]."

Those entering a vehicle in the car show pay a $10 per vehicle registration fee, the proceeds of which will go to Lazarus. Those interested in entering a vehicle and competing for a prize -- winners get a plaque -- can do so by contacting Matthews Tire or simply arriving a little early to the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. event in order to register the same day.

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The show is open to vehicles of all makes, models and eras, according to Wright.

"Most of the time it is antique cars, but it is open any vehicle. We have had people who have brought motorcycles in the past," he said. "We do five people's choice awards, then the Mayor picks one, the Police Chief picks one and the Town Manager picks one and we do a ladies choice."

Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin said he enjoys seeing the mix of vehicles at the show and he really enjoys learning the stories behind the cars, trying to find a human connection when making his prize selection

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"One year I picked a Corvair because my grandfather used to pick us up and drive us around in a Corvair, so that year it had a personal connection for me," he said. "It's always a good event with people walking around downtown with lots to do. Most of the folks are local and there are lots of good stories to the cars. On top of that they are raising money for a local cause, which is even better."

The cars on display will be arrayed across the parking lots of several downtown businesses as well as St. John's United Methodist Church, which will be the food vender, providing a full menu of homemade items, according to Wright.

Other entertainment will include the music of The Country Express Unlimited, a cooking contest at the The BBQ Equipment Store and 50/50 and Orioles tickets raffle drawings, the proceeds of which will also go toward Lazarus Church, according to Wright.

Lazarus Church being selected as the beneficiary of the car show came as a pleasant surprise to Pastor Sam Chamelin: He learned about it after a member of his congregation found a flyer for the show.

"It's been funny: Four or five times I've walked around town and found flyers for events with our name on it and money coming our way," he said. "We were afraid that after an initial rush of support that it would trickle off and we would do a big campaign or something, but we are still on everybody's mind. It's speaks to the long memory of our people here that they just don't forget about people in need."

The news that more funds will be coming could not have come at a better time, according to Chamelin. On June 15, the congregation voted to demolish the burned out walls of their former 160-year-old place of worship but to keep the remaining bell tower to be incorporated in a new design, something that is just getting started.

"I've never been to the car show. I've never been a car guy, but this will give me a really good reason to go and check out what people are doing ... and say thanks," he said. "It's so cool to see what other people will do to help other folks. If that means bringing out your cool cars, which will always be cooler than my car, then that's great and I can't wait to see it."

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