Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville, Mossley and surrounding area

Town cruise being held Sunday

supplied photo
John and Cherie Stenabaugh's vehicles can be seen during the OOFCC town cruise through Thorndale, Thamesford, Ingersoll and Dorchester on Sunday.
by Wendy Spence

        Residents can spectate or participate in a special event this weekend. The Our Own Family Car Club (OOFCC – a group of car enthusiasts that have been hanging out together since 1976) is celebrating the 39th anniversary of the Dorchester Rod & Custom Show with a town cruise on Sunday, beginning and ending in Dorchester. All vehicles are welcome.
        "We were very disappointed that we could not hold the show last year and having to postpone this year's as well,” said one of the organizers, John Stenabaugh. "With all the negativity surrounding COVID, we wanted to put a positive spin on this year's show date by having a cruise through local villages. This is a win-win for all: our friends with special interest vehicles to be able to get out to cruise the local countryside, and also for our friends in surrounding towns who will hopefully come out and be spectators."
        The village tour focuses on all the neighbouring communities who have always supported the car show over the years. Participants are meeting at 249 Hamilton Crescent in Dorchester at 10 a.m. where maps will be distributed. The cruise will turn right from Marion Street onto Shaw Road, continue to Dundas Street and turn left, then right onto Nissouri Road, then Thorndale Road to visit a number of subdivisions. The Thorndale leg is expected to begin at around 10:30 a.m. Thamesford residents can look for a variety of vehicles at around 11:30 a.m. and those in Ingersoll at around 12 p.m. The town cruise proceeds to Dorchester, making its way through several subdivisions, around 1 p.m. Volunteers will be accepting donations to Autism Dog Services at the beginning and end of the cruise at the hot rod shop on Hamilton Crescent for a chance to win door prizes that have been donated. The draws will take place when participants gather at the end of the route.
        Stenabaugh said the level of participation for this type of event tends to depend on the weather. A cruise they put together to Port Bruce and Port Stanley drew more than 150 vehicles. "Typically, we will have vehicles from the 1920s up to the current specialty vehicles."
        Everyone is welcome. "We let our friends know through Facebook, email, club websites, word of mouth, et cetera, and sometimes folks will be driving by and decide to join us." He stressed the importance of participants obeying speed limits and being courteous.
        In the fall of 1982, OOFCC members Don Wilson and Jim Peaker met with the North Dorchester Optimist Club. Since the club was always on the lookout for a good fundraiser, Wilson and Peaker suggested a car show. They were certain it would be a success, but the Optimist Club members were a bit skeptical. The car club members used their powers of persuasion, there was a meeting with members of the North Dorchester Agricultural Society fair board and the first Dorchester Car Show was scheduled for August 1983. The Optimist Club was prepared to serve breakfast for about 100 people that first year, and 283 showed up.
        The show started out as a three-day event. About 14 years ago the organizers decided it wasn't feasible to stay at the fairgrounds. They had a difficult time getting enough manpower to run the show, since a lot of people took vacation time over the summer. The event was scaled down to one day and moved locations to the Optimist Club hall, where it was last held in 2019.

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