Car show weekend kicks off with Sonic celebration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; With chili and cheese dripping down his face, John Holmes of Vidalia accepted a $5 award for winning a hot dog-eating contest

Classic car owners crowded the parking lot of Sonic to show off their Chevelles and Corvettes, and children participated in hoola-hoop and limbo contests.

That was the scene during the first night of the Cruisin’ Natchez on the River, which was held at the Sonic in Vidalia.

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Throughout the evening, Chuck Herring, deejay for the event and president of the Mississippi Muscle and Street Machine Club, gave away door prizes.

Candace Sarvaunt of Lake Charles won a scented candle just for showing Herring her black purse.

Sarvaunt owns a 1961 Corvette and is the first entry for the car show to be held at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center today.

&uot;I’ve always loved old cars,&uot; Sarvaunt said. &uot;But it took me 20 years to get the one I wanted.&uot;

Roger McDonald of Natchez acquired his son’s 1977 Chevelle SS in an interesting way.

McDonald explained he bought the car from a bounty hunter who got the car by giving someone their freedom in exchange for the car.

McDonald admitted even though the Chevelle is for his son he said, &uot;we play with it more than him.&uot;

For Gayle Childers of Gulfport, who also owns a 1971 Chevelle, going to such events gives her a welcome diversion from a painful condition, multiple sclerosis.

&uot;It gives me more therapeutic things to do than sit at home,&uot; Childers said.

Childers said her Chevelle is all-original&045; except for the body paint, which is Dixie rose.

Childers’ 14-year-old daughter, Falisa, said she enjoys going to car shows with her mom. &uot;I always come to cruise-ins and have fun with it,&uot; Falisa Childers said.

Falisa Childers said that when she turns 16, she wants her mom’s 1957 Volkswagon or a Pinto.

Spanky Felter &045; a member of the car show’s sponsor The River City Bad Boyz &045; said he is happy to see the large turnout.

&uot;I’m glad this is turning out like this,&uot; Felter said. &uot;These shows bring big money in.&uot;

&uot;We’re doing this to promote the area and local businesses,&uot; he said.

Felter explained he along with other members of the club, which began six months ago, have been traveling to other car shows in recent months and inviting participants in those events to the Miss-Lou.

Gene Newman, chief operating officer of Sonic, was also present for the festivities and said that it is &uot;so natural with the old cars and it being Sonic’s 50th anniversary.&uot;

&uot;It’s like a wonderful marriage,&uot; Newman said. Sonic will be celebrating its 50th anniversary until July.

If classic car lovers are still craving more after the cruise-in, the fun will continue at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center at 10 a.m. today.

More door prizes and even a 14-carat gold, three-carat diamond bracelet will be awarded during the rest of the weekend-long event.