Enthusiasts from across Nebraska and Iowa gathered for an afternoon and evening of "Kick'n it in the Stix" during a vintage motor fair Saturday at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Arlington.
"It was just a really great day," said Scott DeGeorge, president of The Headliners Car Club of Omaha, organizers of the event. "We heard nothing but praise from people. Many of the locals we talked to said they were really glad (we) did this."
In planning the event, DeGeorge said club members not only wanted to feature cars, but also give families the chance to enjoy an afternoon and evening of fun.
A steady stream of visitors arrived at the fairgrounds throughout the afternoon. As they arrived, they checked out the various cars, motorcycles and other vehicles set up near the fairgrounds' entrance while children nearby slid down an inflatable slide into a pool of water or tried their luck on the mechanical bull.
Later, a group of men hopped on their mini-bikes for a race in the arena and then a group of women donned their best outfits to complete in a "pin up" contest.
The vintage motor fair also included food vendors, a swap meet, coloring contest, silent and live auctions before concluding with music from two bands.
DeGeorge estimated there were about 150 entries in the show, which included mostly show cars, but also motorcycles and other vehicles. The event, he said, exceeded the expectations he and other club members had for the first-year event.
Proceeds from the vintage motor fair will be donated to Roots to Wings, an Arlington-based nonprofit organization aimed at offering employment opportunities and improving the quality of life for those with disabilities. The group's vision is to recognize life-long learners of all ability levels, in a small rural community. The group operates a retail store in Arlington.
DeGeorge did not have a final fundraising total.
Linda Menking, executive director for Roots to Wings, said a raffle and sales at the organization's vendor booth raised about $1,000 for the organization.
While he was confident the club could organize a good event, DeGeorge said the support from other car clubs and the Arlington community made it a "great day."
"The amount of support from the town and the fairgrounds board really made me feel welcome," he said. "That was the biggest thing I enjoyed.
While he didn't get a chance to talk to people for as long as he would have liked, DeGeorge said he enjoyed the brief conversations he had with the visitors.
"We had people that never really knew where Arlington was, never heard of it," he said. "But, they loved the venue, they loved the fairgrounds and how we had everything set up and said they can't wait for next year."
DeGeorge said The Headliners hope the vintage motor fair can become an annual event and they have already tentatively scheduled to return to the fairgrounds next August. He said the group hopes to make a final decision when they meet this week.
"We had such a good turnout and welcome from everybody involved in town and the fairground, it's pretty much a no-brainer," he said. "Even our guys are excited. We are tired, but we are already looking forward to next year to see what we can add, do differently or better. There's always room for improvement and learned a lot."
If plans move ahead for 2020, DeGeorge said plans would be to, once again, team up with Roots to Wings.
That was "exciting news" to Menking.
"We thought it went very well," she said. "They were very organized and there were a lot of cool cars."