By B.C. Manion
It’s hard to predict what kinds of cars will show up at the Al and Ida Silver Memorial Classic Car Show.
Car lovers are “liable to see anything there,” said Larry Broga, a car enthusiast with years of experience in the car world, who has been tapped to judge the entries.
“There could be as many as 100 or as few as 20,” Broga said. “It’s what is called an open show,” he said, meaning it could attract everything from antiques to exotics, from hot rods to street rods to customs.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Weather permitting, the “show ‘n shine” classic car competition could be a big draw, Broga said. (A rain date has been set for Jan. 22).
On the one hand, it’s a new event, so it’s hard to guess how much enthusiasm it will generate. On the other hand, there’s no other car show that day so it could pull in lots of enthusiasts who want to show off their beauties.
Broga said he will judge the cars by evaluating how much effort it took to get them into tip-top shape.
The car lover said he thinks classic cars have an appeal because they can stir feelings of nostalgia, reminding people of earlier times in their lives, or prompting them to think about simpler times in the past.
“There’s a lot of money and a lot of time put into these vehicles,” he said. “And a lot of pride. It’s a whole lifestyle. Some of those paint jobs are in the $10,000 range.”
Organizers of the car show wanted to stage an event to raise money for the Heritage Park Foundation, while at the same time honoring the late Al and Ida Silver, who owned A-OK Trophies and were founding members in the foundation and icons of the Land O’ Lakes community.
One of the reasons they wanted a car show is that they knew that Al Silver was a big car buff, said Sandy Graves, president of the Heritage Park Foundation.
The couple was widely known throughout the community, said Lonnie Piper, their daughter, who now runs the trophy shop with her husband, Bobby Buckle.
Al Silver championed the quest to have a light put in at Land O’ Lakes Boulevard and Lake Padgett Road because there were so many accidents, Piper said. He also pushed to have Christmas lights on electric poles, even though the family is Jewish, she added.
The family trophy business began in their Long Island home 49 years ago. It started in the basement, spread to the garage and then spilled into the family room.
“When it got to the dining room, that’s when my mother said, “That’s it!” Piper said. Instead of letting it take over the dining room, Ida Silver demanded that they open up a shop.
They had two locations on Long Island when they decided to move south to Florida.
They operated at different spots in Tampa before settling into a pink house on US 41 in Land O’ Lakes.
The house was knocked down by the widening of US 41, and the highway was renamed Land O’ Lakes Boulevard. The trophy shop — which sells trophies, plaques, pen sets, ribbons and other items — operates at 3724 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in a building constructed farther back from the road.
Piper is pleased that the benefit that will raise money in her parents’ memory will provide a nice time for event-goers while raising money to help pay for amenities for the community to enjoy.
The fundraiser’s proceeds eventually will be used to help pay for a Heritage Walk around the park and an amphitheater, Graves said.
It costs $15 to register a car for the event, which can be paid on the day of the show.
Cars will be lined up on a multipurpose field, where spectators can check them out and the contestants can be judged.
Registration is from 9 a.m. to noon. Twenty trophies and a best of show will be announced at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony. The first 50 cars to register will get a free goody bag.
The event will also feature a DJ playing music from the 50s, 60s and 70s and will include various vendors. Some will sell fresh produce. Others will offer pizza, hot dogs or barbecue.
Other vendors will sell jewelry, wickless candles, leather work, soaps, boutique clothing, beadwork, blankets and photography. A personal chef and someone from a company that does signs on car windows will be on hand, too.
Vendors are still welcome to participate, said Pam St. Mary, of Land O’ Lakes Saturday Market, who is organizing the event.
Graves said her organization envisions a day when people will be able to attend concerts and outdoors movies at the park, and will be able walk around a trail, stopping periodically to read markers that tell visitors about the community’s history and about area families.
“We’re hoping that people will come out to see the cars and have a good time,” St. Mary said.
For more information go to LOLSaturdaymkt or call Pam St. Mary at (813) 731-5168.
If you go
Al and Ida Silver Memorial Classic Car Show
Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 15 (Jan. 22 is rain date)
Classic cars, DJ, food booths and various vendors
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