20th Annual AACA Edison Region Car Show Saturday
The 20th Annual AACA Edison Region Car Show is expected to feature more than 150 cars at Jaycee Park Saturday, Jan. 15, from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Bob Nelson, president of the Edison Region AACA Car Show, said the club was founded in 1977 and it began hosting car shows in 1991.
When the car show first began, he said the club typically had 100 cars on display due to the 50 to 60 members who had more than one car at the show.
“In those days, car shows became very popular,” Nelson said. “The car show culture has really expanded.”
He believes that an evolution has taken place over the years with people who are involved in car shows. Nelson explained that people used to love working on cars and now the car show has turned more into a social gathering, which is part of the “car culture we live in.”
The annual car show has attracted as many as 260 cars since it is one of the oldest car shows in town.
“Cars are industrial works of art,” he said. “They don’t hang on people’s walls, you can use them.”
Bob Heilman, exhibitor and vendor coordinator for the car show, said the club puts on the annual car show to benefit various Lee County organizations. He explained that the car show is about the “local community helping the local community.”
“The club is doing some good,” Heilman said. “It is such a fun event for me and such a nice group of people.”
Nelson said the car show has generated as much as $10,000 a year, which is donated to various local charities. He explained that a few years ago the club decided to adopt the South Fort Myers High School automotive academy and provide money for scholarships so the kids can become mechanics.
“It gives us a better feeling than giving money to traditional charities,” he said.
“It is a win-win situation,” James Moss, automotive instructor at South Fort Myers High School, said about the growing relationship he has with the club. “We are thankful for all the help and support we get from people in the community.”
Moss said the funds help with the purchase of tools and equipment for the students as well.
For approximately five years, the club has also donated a substantial amount of money to Edison Estates, so some of the cars in Thomas Edison’s collection can be restored. One of the vehicles that was restored was a custom built Model T that had a camping trailer mounted on the back.
The show, which has free admission, typically features a variety of cars ranging from race cars to antique cars.
Although there are 20 pre-registered cars for the show, Nelson has a hunch that he will have at least 50 cars registered before the day of the show. He explained that the majority of people register the day of the event.
Nelson explained that a few of the gentlemen who register for the car show bring as many as a dozen cars to display.
Anywhere between 10 to 20 South Fort Myers High School students will be present at the show to help park cars. Moss said that two of his students will also have their cars in the show.
“I am trying to find good kids that really have the ambition,” Moss said about the students in the automotive program. “I like to see them get involved.”
Moss said he currently has 200 students in the automotive program, which is mostly full of sophomores, juniors and seniors. He explained that the school is a comprehensive high school that offers students the opportunity to learn how to work on cars and trucks.
“It is a good program for the ones that want to pursue the automotive field after high school,” Moss said.
Moss said it is a good thing that the county has invested in a comprehensive high school because students have the opportunity to understand the field they wish to pursue after they graduate from high school.
The certified program was introduced to the students when the high school first opened six years ago. Moss said students can receive their certification through South Fort Myers as long as they take and pass the test.
The car show will be held at Jaycee Park, which is located at 4125 S.E. 20th Place, in Cape Coral.