Several thousand visitors flocked to the second annual Santee Car Show to check out classic rides, great food and wonderful music. In the process the Santee Santas and Santee Food Bank received a boost in both finances and awareness.
The Santee Car Show took shape last year, following two successful years of the Santee Street Fair. Both events are organized by the Santee Chamber of Commerce, with help from the City of Santee and sponsorship by several local companies. The first Car Show drew more than 10,000 people to see over 175 vehicles, around 100 businesses and other vendors, and music by Ramshackle and The Corvettes. This year saw huge increases in all categories, particularly visitors. Organizers looked to double the attendance over the first year.
This year music was provided by the Rock and Roll/Surf Music Band Moondawgs and the Beatles tribute band 4 Lads from Liverpool. Both bands drew appreciative listeners and enthusiastic dancers. The nearby beer garden provided both libations and a pleasant spot for listening to the music. Several dozen food vendors provided a great variety of snacks, from hot dogs to barbecue.
The big winners, though, were the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. The two non-profit groups work to provide services to needy families and seniors in the community, and the Car Show and Street Fair allow them to bring their needs directly to the public.
Santee Santas is a non-profit organization that has been providing support to low income seniors and families in the community since 1953. The all-volunteer group works with the Santee School District to identify students and families who need assistance at the holidays and throughout the year. The Family Emergency Fund is available at any time of the year, while the Holiday Food and Toy Program focuses on providing assistance at the holidays. The group also has a Senior Outreach Program that works to make sure that seniors in the community are not forgotten about during the year. The Santas visit unaccompanied seniors in the mobile home parks, senior apartment complexes, and Stanford Court Nursing Home.
Sam Modica, a member of the Santee Santas Board of Directors, explained the importance of the Car Show and Street Fair for the group. “The presence here at the Santee Car Show gives us quite a bit of exposure to the community that we didn’t have in years past,” he said. “We’re trying to get more involved in the community and get the community aware of what we do, and by being here at the Car Show, and again at the Street Fair, it exposes our organization. We give a lot of information out and we get a lot of volunteers that sign up during the course of the year.”
The Santee Food Bank has been helping families in Santee since 1988, and has found its services in much greater demand since the start of the Great Recession. Another all-volunteer group, the Food Bank provides once-a-month assistance to needy low and middle income families in the community. Marsi Walker, Public Affairs Director, said that the exposure at the Car Show is a great benefit for the Food Bank in its efforts to reach out the the greater community for volunteers and donations. “The fact that the Chamber is so supportive of us and sponsors the Car Show to help benefit the Food Bank means so much to us,” said Walker. “We are out here giving out flyers inviting people to come and work at the Food Bank, to give their time and energy and service, and we have collection cans throughout the show for donations.”
“Making the dollar stretch a little farther now is important, especially for seniors,” added volunteer Sandy Olewine. “There has been a real increase in seniors. On fixed incomes you just can’t make it the whole month any more. The Food Bank is what helps keep them at a subsistence level of sustainability.” With the economic difficulties, the Food Bank has seen the number rise from fewer than 100 families in its early years to over 1700 needing monthly assistance.
One of the biggest draws for the Car Show was the raffle of a restored 1967 Ford Mustang GT, sponsored by the Santee Chamber of Commerce. Only 2000 tickets were sold at $20 each, with money going to the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. The car was restored by Lloyd’s Collision and Repair of Santee, with help from San Diego Mustang Shop, Mark’s Auto Glass, Mark Luhr’s Custom Upholstery and Xpress Muffler. Bob Lloyd, owner of Lloyd’s Collision and a member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, said that the raffle had been so popular that the Chamber plans to repeat it next year, possibly with a classic Chevy Camaro.
Also on hand for the show were Miss Santee, Maria Maes, and Miss Teen Santee, Savannah Keener, who helped choose two of the winning cars in the show. “It was so difficult coming through and picking our favorite cars,” said Savannah. “There were so many people out here with their special cars.” Maria echoed her teen counterpart’s enthusiasm. “Coming to the Car Show was amazing. All of the beautiful cars we saw, and we got to choose our favorite cars. It was a tough decision.”
After the success of the second Car Show, it’s no surprise that planning is already under way for the third edition, scheduled for early October, 2012. The next major event in Santee will be the Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration in November, followed by the annual Santee Street Fair in May, 2012.
Read about the first Santee Car Show