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Gearing up

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The Elks annual gala is Ashland’s only car show, and it features some of the coolest classic automobiles in town.

This Saturday car lovers can enjoy live music, food trucks, face painting and a beer-wine-hard cider garden from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Elks big Lithia Drive parking area, with proceeds going to the club’s fundraising efforts for education, hunger, veterans and other good causes.

The “Cars of Summer” features lively music, which starts with Greta Gardiner at 10 a.m., Robbie Dacosta Band at 11:15 a.m. and The Reverberays at 1 p.m. Funds will also aid a redo of the Elks parking lot.

The Elks will accept car and motorcycle entries up to the time of the show’s opening, with $35 entry fees. Cars from various decades will be displayed, with prizes for many entries, including best Chevy, Ford, import, street rod, rat rod, custom, interior and so on.

In a preview of the car show, Don Montgomery showed off his stunning black and green 1941 Plymouth pickup, which he took apart and restored from “a real mess” over the past 15 years. It even sports a World War II gas rationing window sticker and genuine 1941 Oregon plates, found in an antique store.

Steven Stark will display a 1963 Jaguar e/type (called the XKE in America) — one of only two cars so beautiful that it found a home in the Museum of Modern Art. “It revolutionized the look of sports cars and was the first production car to go 150 mph,” he says.

Tim Thuren is displaying his sleek blue 1965 Mustang, which he bought when he was in high school in 1991 and has lovingly restored.

“It’s pretty hopped up but mostly original,” he says. “It’s mostly garaged. I drive it around when it’s nice out and get a lot of thumbs up from people.”

Elks officer John Fiore calls the event “the friendliest car show in the valley, because it’s such a family thing, it’s got face-paint for the kids, it welcomes everyone and tries to make sure all entrants leave with a prize.”

The event includes tours of the adjacent three-story Elks home, built in 1910. It’s a nonprofit organization, and central parking comes with membership, which costs $112 a year and includes affordable meals and drinks.

Elks member Dara Dana says it’s their big annual public outreach, and main proceeds will go to the Butler Fund, providing medical, dental and food for low-income families.

Fundraisers conducted by the 114-year-old Ashland Elks chapter #944 also assist handicapped children, Special Olympics, children’s eye needs, a summer camp for children’s speech and hearing needs, Little League, high school sports, victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, cancer research and scholarships for six high school graduates each year.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Andy Atkinson / Ashland Tidings Don Montgomery looks under the hood of a 1963 Jaguar with his 1941 Plymouth truck behind him at the Elks Lodge in downtown Ashland Tuesday.
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Andy Atkinson / Ashland Tidings Don Montgomery backs up his 1941 Plymouth truck at the Elks Lodge in downtown Ashland Tuesday.