BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — Over a hundred polished hoods of all shapes, colors and sizes glistened in the sunlight as the Clifton Park Elks Lodge #2466 held its ninth annual car show Aug. 22.
Stephen Luse of Round Lake has been showing vehicles in car shows for more than 20 years, but got his current showpiece — a 1958 Ford Fairlane — only 12 years ago.
“I just love the looks of ’58 Fords,” Luse said. “I had one just like it when I was 20 years old — I had the same color then except it was a convertible.”
Even glancing at it from a distance, you can tell this car is a beauty; the aqua teal shade really makes this sleek ride pop.
“This is a really nice show,” Luse said. “I came in second best in show three years ago. There are a lot of nice cars here; that’s the best part of coming to these shows, you get to see a lot of nice cars and I love all of them.”
“We hope that car enthusiasts will come out for this great cause. It is a perfect opportunity to see some of the area’s most interesting cars, trucks and motorcycles, people who take pride in owning and maintaining their special vehicles as well as people who appreciate them,” event chairman Mike Bendetti said.
The Elks are one of the oldest and largest private organizations in the United States. It was begun in 1868 by 15 actors in New York City and now there are 2,200 local lodges throughout the country.
Recently the Clifton Park Elks Lodge at 695 MacElroy Road has hosted a drug awareness booth at Shenendehowa’s annual Science & Health Discovery Night, handed out over 300 dictionaries to Niskayuna elementary students, paid for two veterans to attend the Capital District Patriot Flight to visit the Washington memorials, raised $5,000 for the Home Service Program of Cerebral Palsy Association of New York, sponsored Boy Scout Troop 246, awarded $8,000 in scholarships for students from Burnt Hills, Ballston Lake, Niskayuna and Shenendehowa High Schools, hosted youth “Soccer Shoot” skills competition, and provided $2,000 worth of food to the Jonesville “Helping Hands” and CAPTAIN “Karl’s Cupboard” pantries.
The car show is a major event for the charities that the Elks sponsor and support.
“The planning team for the car show is highly motivated to put on a good event because the show helps fund the charitable efforts of the Lodge for area youth, students and veterans,” Elks member Dan Mathias said.
“A major benefactor is the Elks National Foundation. The ENF is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission to help Elks build stronger communities. … It provides tomorrow’s leaders, our youth, with lifelong skills; honors the Elks’ pledge to never forget our veterans; helps the state Elks associations accomplish their charitable objectives; and funds projects that improve the quality of life in local Elks communities.”
“It’s a really good event,” Exalted Ruler Jim Farnan said. “We end up with between 100 and 150 cars and most of the money goes to help our charities out — youth, veterans … we sponsor a host of things at the Clifton Park Elks Lodge.”
He continued: “Last year we raised around $3,000; the record was close to $5,000. We just hope we have enough money to send in our contribution to the charities that we support, that’s our goal.”
This year they were able to achieve their goal of raising $1,000 each for the Elks National Foundation, the New York State Elks Association Major Project (Cerebral Palsy), and the Lodge Scholarships.
Farnan predicted a large turnout, as long as Mother Nature kept it together, and his theory turned out to be correct: Appreciative crowds swirled around the cars, trucks and motorcycles on display in amazement, awe and excitement.
“For everybody that shows up, it’s just a good time,” Farnan said. “You know when the parking lot gets full and the place gets crowded, you’re going to do well.”