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Car show helps stock food pantry for needy
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Mark Tullis checks the engine of his 1949 Ford pickup truck Saturday at the Spirit of Joy Church Car Show and Cookout in downtown Flowery Branch. - photo by Tom Reed

Oldies music filled the corners of downtown Flowery Branch early Saturday morning.

But the spotlight wasn’t on the music. It was on the cars.

Car owners shined their hoods as they prepared to be judged in the ninth annual Car Show and Cookout, sponsored by Spirit of Joy Church.

Garen Dodson, pastor of the church and organizer of the event, said the show normally brings out 50 to 60 cars and 200 to 300 spectators.

“The kind of cars that come out are the types of cars you would see at a top class car show,” Dodson said.

The $20 registration fee went toward the church’s food pantry.

“We have trophies for best of show, best paint job, best interior, and other things like that,” Dodson said. “And then we have Top 25 of Show as well.”

Door prizes, such as gift cards from local restaurants, were also given away, and hot dogs and hamburgers provided by church volunteers were also available throughout the day.

Dodson said that the car show usually brings in around $1,500 a year to support local families in need.

“We buy food at 10 cents on the dollar, so if we raise $1,500 today, we will be buying $15,000 retail worth of food,” Dodson said.

Dodson said he believes the car show has been a success for so long because the money raised is for a good cause.

“This is to help the needy people and feed the hungry people of the area,” Dodson said. “Some people have lost their jobs and have illnesses, and we are here to support them.”

Dodson said the need has been especially great because of the current economic situation.

“The number of families that we serve has almost tripled in the last two years,” Dodson said.

Flowery Branch resident Mark Turner, who drives a 1994 yellow Ferrari 348 Spider, said that he keeps coming back to the car show because “it is a good local event” that is a “good cause for a good church.”

Turner, who has participated every year of the event, said that cars are “his passion” and “his weakness.”

Turner said that the Flowery Branch car show is unique because of the camaraderie of the people.

But Turner wasn’t worried about his competition.

“It doesn’t matter if I win or not,” Turner said. “I just like to come out here and see other people’s cars.”

Regional events