DECATUR — Cold weather and a make-up date did little to cool the excitement for hundreds of car owners, residents and World War II veterans.
A large crowd came to the Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum on Saturday afternoon for the Veterans World War II Memorial car show. The crowd walked through rows of vintage and custom cars spanning back to the 1930s. About 130 vehicles were registered for the show, though officials believe there were even more cars being showed off by owners.
All proceeds go to the World War II Memorial committee and the Central Illinois Honor Flight project. It made sense to Les Aubert, the show chairman, to raise money for the groups, as his father earned a Purple Heart while serving in World War II.
“I’ve seen the great things they’ve done with the memorial,” Aubert said. “My father never got to see the memorial, but I know he’s looking down from above on it.”
The event was to be held last month during Labor Day weekend but was postponed due to rainy weather. Despite the monthlong postponement, officials were pleased with the turnout.
“We had a few cars and people drop out, but this is a great showing for a colder day,” Aubert said.
Veterans from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard were in attendance and selected some of the winners of the 40 handmade awards given out. Many were excited about the turnout and the wide variety of makes and models.
“I’m thrilled to death by all of this, that so many people would show up to support this,” said Bill Williams, a Navy veteran who served in World War II.
Irwin Soliday shared the sentiment.
“Any event where we can get the crowd to come out and support us is pretty terrific,” said Soliday, an infantry veteran who served in World War II
While there was no set cash goal, Aubert predicted the show would bring in at least $4,000.
Jim Little, who brought his 1940 Ford Coupe from Tuscola, has been entering shows for the past year-and-a-half. He thrives on the environment, where car owners show off their collection and compete for bragging rights. With the collection of cars and with proceeds going to veterans, Little said the show was establishing itself as one of the best in the area.
“This is a great cause here, and this show is only going to get bigger,” he said.