Start your engines, the Westfield Neighborhood Council is revving up for its annual car show. From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 more than 75 exotic cars from all across New Jersey will be on display in the Verizon parking lot on the corner of North and Central Avenues.
In addition to hot rods, muscle and antique cars, custom motorcycles, a speed boat and the Batmobile will be on view.
Mary Withers, chair of the event, said it is a great family outing that supports a worthy cause.
"We have hot dogs, lemonade, and cake," she said. "We also have games for children and a bouncy house. You can have your picture taken with the cars. We also have a DJ who plays music. There'll also be a martial arts performance. It's a wonderful day."
Withers said the car show, a fundraiser for the Neighborhood Council's center, located at 127 Cacciola Pl., is crucial to the center's survival. She explained that the non-profit center provides a drug and alcohol prevention program, Dream Makers, sponsored by the Municipal Alliance of Westfield, for teens. The center also hosts activities for senior citizens. Every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. seniors are welcome to come listen to speakers discussing current events. They can also engage in arts and crafts or play games.
For the past four years, a vegetable garden, started by Harold Cohen, has been thriving, Withers said, and providing fresh, free produce to the community. Collard greens, string beans and tomatoes are just a few of the crops grown.
Withers explained that the center provides a vital service in bringing "unity to the community."
"We've had no (teen) pregnancies and the crime rate is down," she said. "The center plays an important role in the lives of young people and the comfort of our seniors. It's a place that they can call their home away from home."
Withers said what sets the center apart is that it is free; no membership fee is required to take advantage of its offerings.
"Our mayor (Andy Skibitsky) and the Town Council has been wonderful and so supportive," Withers said. "Without them allowing us to use the parking lots for our car show and street fairs, we just wouldn't be in existence. We've been able to survive because of these fundraisers and the generous support of the community."
Withers said many businesses contribute to the car show. Merrill Lynch will sponsor the show this year. Other local merchants such as Rick's Auto Body, Westfield Collision, Jeff's Auto Body, and Midas supply interesting automobiles to draw in the crowd. In the past, the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad has provided an ambulance that attendees can tour and Withers said she hopes they will do so again this year.
Many residents have also donated anywhere for a dollar to $300, Withers said, to ensure that the center stays open.
"The last few years have been a struggle, but God has been good," she said.
Tickets for the car show are $5 per person, children under 5 will be permitted free of charge. For more information, call 908-233-2772.