CHAMPs > CHAMP in Action

Car Show for Parkinson

Once upon a time there was a private car party organized by Joe LaVecchia and Bill Garofalo of Profab Chassis, an automotive speed shop in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.  For years Joe and Bill invited friends and clients to an informal car show featuring hot rods, racers and classic cars from the 50’s and 60’s.

After the 2010 Profab show three Parkinson’s Unity Walk veterans, Gary Palumbo, Richard Stein and Ken Aidekman decided that it would be a swell idea to draw on the energy and good will generated by the Profab show and use it to raise funds for Parkinson’s. In essence our plan was to “piggyback” a PD fundraiser on top of an existing event.  In this way we would be able to avoid the risk of starting up from scratch, keep organization simple and minimize the upfront outlay for expenses. Simple, right? Well, nothing is simple.

One reason the Profab show is so much fun is because they keep it simple and cheap for their participants. The show is ‘invitation only’ so there’s no real expense for publicity – clients and friends get a call or an e-mail and show up on the appointed date. There is also no fee to register your car and no fee for admission to the grounds.

So advertising, ticket sales and marketing are not a problem for the fundraisers. But, then how do you raise funds for Parkinson’s if you can’t charge for entry?

We decided to try a few different things.  Some were successful and some were not. 

The 50-50 raffle was a big success.  Both winners only kept a portion of their prize and returned the rest to the cause. God bless them! We also collected a portion of the proceeds from our primary refreshments vendor, Premio Sausages.  Their low priced fare and good will has been part of the show for years and we greatly appreciate their partnership.

We figured that beautifully designed, reasonably priced T-Shirts with the show’s new name “Profab Customs & Classics” would sell like hotcakes. I didn’t happen. Same for the framed photos and automobilia. We have plenty of time to re-examine our plan before the next Profab show in 2012.

The Good News: It was a beautiful June day. Over 100 cars and drivers participated. We raised $2,000 for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk!

The Bad News: There was no bad news. We just saw what worked for our particular event and what did not. Our challenge is to learn from our experience and apply what we learn to next year’s show.

Want to buy some cool T-shirts?

By Ken Aidekman