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Fire department announces plans for auto show

CHOCOWINITY — Beaufort County is home to quite a number of festivals and fairs, and organizers of one such event are putting the word out early in hopes of drawing a record crowd this year.

Although the Chocowinity Fire Department’s Spring Heat Car, Truck, Motorcycle and Big Rig Show isn’t until May 18, volunteer fire chief Tommy Pendley wants the community to know that now is the time to start thinking about registering automobiles and booking vendor space.

“Depending on the weather, we’ve had up to 140 entries in all categories of the show,” said Pendley, who has been active in the local fire department for 20 years, serving as chief for almost 11 years.

The day’s festivities will also include a swap meet, featuring car parts and accessories, and assorted vendors selling everything from arts and crafts to home decor items. Special children’s activities are planned, and those in attendance can satisfy their hunger by purchasing barbecue sandwiches, chips, soft drinks and baked goods. A disc jockey will provide music throughout the day.

This is the 12th-annual auto show hosted by the fire department, Pendley noted. The event will be held on the campus of Chocowinity Middle School.

The auto show itself will award more than five dozen trophies, including top 50. best paint job, best interior, sponsors’ choice, best engine, best car, best truck, club participation and best modern car, from the 1980’s and later. According to Pendley, top three trophies will be presented in the semi-truck and motorcycle categories.

An added attraction this year will be hot air balloon rides, weather permitting.

“We’re hoping people will see the balloon in the air and come see what’s going on,”

Pendley said. “We wanted something to draw attention to Chocowinity, and we’re trying to bring more people to our event.”

Vendors may begin setting up for the show at 7 a.m. the day of the event. Car registration kicks off at 8 a.m. and runs until noon, with judging taking place later in the day.

All proceeds from the show benefit the Chocowinity Fire Department, which is comprised of between 45 and 50 volunteers. An estimated 20 department auxiliary members assist in the ongoing projects. In the past, funds from the auto show have made it possible for fire department members to update equipment and attend training opportunities, according to Pendley. The department typically responds to between 650 and 700 fire calls each year, and members meet each Thursday at 7 p.m.

“This show is just one of our fundraising events we do each year,” Pendley said. “With the auxiliary, we do family photos, barbecue dinners, yard sales, pancake suppers and the Christmas expo. We also help the town with the Christmas parade every year.”

Support from the public has been invaluable over the years, Pendley said.

“I can’t thank everybody enough for what the community does for us,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the community, the Chocowinity Fire Department wouldn’t be what it is today.”

* For more information about the Spring Heat show, contact Charlie Elks at 252-945-1248. Details regarding vendor space are available by calling Tonya Avery at 252-495-1102. To learn more about the swap meet, contact Brandon Elks at 252-944-3495. Inquiries may also be sent via email to chocowinityfiredept@gmail.com.