Pictured here are members of the Orange Plaza Rotary at this year’s annual Plaza Car Show. (From left to right): Teri Snyder; Club President Amy Bippus; Howard Glasser; Joe Colombo; Sue Hayes; Shane Cowan; Garrett Wilkinson; Immediate Past President and President Elect Tracey Curtis; Jason Curtis (car show chair); Tiffany Jo Curtis; Jack Sappington; District Governor Rae Shirer; Chris Hale and John Bouyer.
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Orange Plaza Car Show
A year in advance of the annual Orange Plaza Car Show, a small team of community-minded car enthusiasts revs up for the colorful event showcasing more than 430 pre-1976 classic cars on display throughout the Plaza.
Spearheading the extravaganza, the Orange Plaza Rotary (formerly Orange Sunrise Rotary) works hard all year to recruit sponsors and judges, procure raffle prizes, finalize vendors, advertise and meet with City officials.
“Space for car show entrants typically sells out in a week,” says Tracey Curtis, incoming president of Orange Plaza Rotary. “We have an online registration that opens February 1st, and it’s first-come, first-served. The show is very popular.”
Held the third Sunday in April from 9 am to 3 pm, the car show attracts more than 15,000 attendees while serving as the main fundraiser for the Rotary to give back to the community. Proceeds benefit the club’s backpack “school supply” project, scholarships for seniors, a year-end BBQ for students with special needs, a Blessing Bag project to assist the homeless, and much more.
The car show encompasses a large footprint spanning the entirety of the Plaza, from Grand to Lemon, Almond to Maple, and including side streets like Olive and Orange. The morning of the event, members gather beginning at 3 am to direct participants to their designated spaces.
“We have a big crew of non-Rotarian volunteers who help park the cars and set up,” says Tracey. “We work closely with the City to ensure compliance with our contract. We are all just volunteers, wanting to raise money to benefit our community.”
Prior to the event, Rotary members do outreach to Plaza merchants, going door-to-door to thank them for their support and encourage participation. The members remain motivated, thanks to the overwhelming positive response from attendees and participants.
“After the show, I like to stand by the Wells Fargo building and personally say thank-you and goodbye to all drivers as they leave our show in their cars,” says Tracey. “It’s a neat feeling when the owners say, ‘See you next year!’ I have a smile on my face during and after the event, because we get such joy out of doing something this big in our community.”
Orange Plaza Rotary meets on Wednesdays in Old Towne at 5:30 pm. For information, visit OrangePlazaRotary.org.