All money raised will stay in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
By SEAN BARRON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Most people who drove into the Shops at Boardman Park on Sunday likely saw that many parking spaces were filled with vehicles with raised hoods.
Those cars weren't suffering from engine or other problems, however. Their owners wanted to be sure that their vehicles' wares caught the eyes of passers-by.
The vintage cars were a colorful part of Sunday's 17th annual Drive for Dough at the Shops at Boardman Park on U.S. Route 224. Owners paid a $5 registration fee to have their custom cars be part of the yearly fund-raiser, which was designed to raise money for the local chapter of the Easter Seal Society to help people with special needs and disabilities.
The Drive for Dough event began June 20 with a road tour in which promoters spent the week visiting various local organizations to raise funds. People were encouraged to bring change to help fill Penny the Pig, touted as the world's largest piggy bank.
Sunday's activities and events included the car show, several concession stands, a dinner, a silent auction and a raffle. Capping off the festivities was a concert by the Great Pretenders and a 9:45 p.m. fireworks show put on by B.J. Alan Fireworks Co. Inc.
Among the approximately 70 vehicles on display were a 1954 Ford Customline, a metallic blue 1967 Olds 85 and a 1957 Fairlane 500. A 1953 Studebaker Commander, owned by John and Jeanie Martin of Cleveland, was selected for an appreciation award, said Eric Johnston, a member of the Easter Seals Drive for Dough committee.
Most of the people who attended escaped the searing 90-degree heat by enjoying a buffet-style meal under a tent, where the silent auction took place. More than 160 baskets and other items that had been donated were auctioned, with the proceeds going to Easter Seals.
Jodi Harmon, director of development, said that last year, the local Easter Seal Society provided around $475,000 in services for which it was not compensated. Part of the purpose of the Drive for Dough event is to make some of that amount up, she said.
Harmon emphasized that the center does not turn away anyone who is unable to pay for services with insurance or other means. Easter Seals is a Medicare/Medicaid provider and offers a sliding-scale fee.
The facility also offers occupational, physical, speech and aquatic therapy for adults and children. Also included are adult day services, in-home respite care for those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, outreach programs designed to allow people with physical and mental disabilities to remain at home, and a preschool for children with special needs.
Harmon said that the auction brings about $10,000 each year. Last year's Drive for Dough brought in around $23,000, she said.
"We're close to our goal," Harmon said of this year's fund-raiser. "The money goes to programs and services."
Ken Sklenar, president and chief executive officer, said that this year's goal was to raise between $40,000 and $45,000. He stressed that all the money generated will stay in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
Sponsors for the event were the Shops at Boardman Park, Fox 17/62, Miller Lite, Molnar's Concession Stands, the Town Crier, Schwebel's, The Sound Shop Inc. and WBBG-FM 106.1.