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Car Show: Weekend Update from Charles Shotwell (Cosmic Charlie) October 12, 2013

Weekend Update from Charles Shotwell (Cosmic Charlie) October 12, 2013

Culpeper, Virginia
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Photos by: Charles Shotwell

Saturday the Princess and I started out from the N. Stafford WAWA at 5:15AM….then met Dan, the homeless guy, at the Lake Arrowhead 7-11 a few miles out Rt. 610. Dan then led the way while we cruised 32 miles to the Culpeper Regional Airport and their 14th annual aviation extravaganza called AirFest. This is the 5th year our group, Cruisin For Heroes, has supported AirFest by providing a special vehicle display for the 6000-8000 spectators to wander through on their way in and out of the AirFest event. We usually start to plan for the next year’s event a couple days after the current event happens….so for a year we have been planning this year’s display. Last year the folks at the airport asked us to increase our presence by about 100%! So all year we have been inviting special cars that come with special people that can interact with the spectators at AirFest 2013.

This year we also had help in the form of financial assistance from Chrysler of Culpeper that would change the makeup of our display a little. We also had invited special Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs to show the evolution of the Generations of each mark. We also had some very special race cars and motorcycles booked. We had to arrange special unloading and parking of the trailered vehicles that would be attending. Each member of CFH has been planning for the 2013 AirFest event for a year.

This year we also had a last minute welcome participant in the form of Ray & Terry’s Team Fisher House race car. They had been planning on attending another event and at the last month they were able to be at our event. Since CFH’s main charity is Fisher House Foundation this was a very welcome addition to our display, in fact it would become the centerpiece of the display!

It began raining here about October 7th and was continuing as we left on a dreary Saturday the 12th. We had a couple meetings in the last month with the airport folks, Tanya & Tony, to determine if we could still have a display if it rained and where we could set up. Since the weather guessers were all over the board as far as the Saturday forecast we really didn’t know where we would be till the morning of the event…at 6AM….in the dark….in the rain.

We met with Tony shortly after we arrived onsite and he found us an area on the ramp where we could be safe and strategically located so most of the spectators would walk near our display on their way to the rest of the event. Without Tony’s assistance the event would have been a total bust for us.

As previously instructed, the 7 brave souls that shook their fist at the rain and decided to drive their special cars to the airport began arriving between 7:30-8:00. We set them up next to Chrysler of Culpeper’s cars and near the Fisher House racer of Ray & Terry. Everyone pitched in to set up canopies, chairs, coffee & donuts then settled in to endure the long, wet, cold day. There were 48 people that thought better about subjecting their vehicles to the deluge that was unfolding before them and stayed home. We had instructed everyone that their safety is the most important thing to us and if they thought they might jeopardize themselves or their vehicle by attending the event….we were encouraging them to please stay home….there is always 2014. And in the end if all 55 people decided to come out and play in the rain we didn’t have anywhere to put them….it would have been a chaotic mess. So I’m glad we had 7 cars instead of 55!

I began photographing what I could in the rain and the others began talking to the spectators as they trickled into the event. This event it always the high point of our year…we really like to share our hobby with the spectators and tell them about Fisher House. So many people do not know what Fisher House does for our Veterans and it’s our mission to try to fix that. The point of the Team Fisher House race car is to pique interest in the car and while talking with spectators about the car, share about Fisher House too. We were a little disorganized most of the day but Lou & Ray still managed to interact with many people that had no idea what Fisher House is…that’s a win! It is uplifting to see a parent giving their very young kids money to put in the Fisher House donation barrel….it’s a teaching moment for us all!

Because of the playground fight in DC that caused the shutdown of our, OUR Government there were no FAA Inspectors available to oversee the event’s flying. It was a moot point because the weather ceiling was maybe 2” most of the day so nothing flew while we were there. Some of the vendors stayed home and other planned displays were also absent. Those that showed up tried but in the end the incessant rain prevailed. There was about 30 aircraft to see tied down on the ramp….not the least of which was the P-51 and the Yak-11…two neat allies from WWII. I would have liked to see them both fly.

About 11AM the airport announced that there would be no airshow because of the weather. We kept going till noon then decided to call it a day. Everyone worked like a machine to take down our little encampment and make sure everyone’s stuff got back where it belonged. We made sure we didn’t leave any trash and just that quick it was over for us. It was a good day to follow through on the commitment we made to the airport and Fisher House….we hope that a few more people now know what Fisher House does for our Veterans.

- Cosmic Charlie

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