Despite the threat of rain, all who attended Autumn Fest 2017 and the 4th annual Cruizin on the Suwannee Auto & Truck Show at Advent Christian Village (ACV) on Saturday, Oct. 7, enjoyed a beautiful morning outdoors. It was an enjoyable time at the Village Square along the Suwannee River.
Autumn Fest is an annual event ACV has been holding each fall for many, many years. Similar to their monthly market days — a sort of flea market held in the parking lot of the Village Square the first Saturday of each month — Autumn Fest is a larger event which incorporates entertainment. Vendors selling crafts, baked goods, skin care products, professional services, and more were set up and ready for business by 8:00 a.m., and the day officially began at 9:00 a.m. with the singing of the national anthem by Dowling Park resident Karen Coke, and the presentation of colors by the Suwannee High School (Live Oak, Florida) Navy JROTC.
The most popular vendor was Steve and Mary Bridges’s “The Grill Team” booth, which sold barbecued meats in a variety of ways, from smoked ribs to pulled pork sandwiches.
As shoppers began to arrive in the early morning, the show-quality cars and trucks were rolling in for the auto show. Since 2015, the Cruizin on the Suwannee Auto & Truck Show has taken place at the same venue as Autumn Fest in order to allow attenders to easily participate in both events. Those who primarily attend for the vendor booths end up browsing the cars and vice versa. The auto show entrants also like the variety provided by combining the events.
The vehicles that were entered into the show were judged and awards were presented. Best of Cars: Darryl Windham, Live Oak, Florida, 2008 Ford Mustang Roadster 428R; Allen Whitaker, Havana, Florida, 1987 Zimmer; John Sadler, Perry, Florida, 1954 Chevy Bel Air 210; Bill Nickerson, Dowling Park, Florida, 1931 Ford Deluxe Roadster; Steve Ward, Lake Park, Georgia, 1970 Ford Mustang; Logan Birdsong, Valdosta, Georgia, 1990 Buick Reatta Convertible; Bill Higgins, Valdosta, 1980 Chevrolet El Camino; Wade Lichtenberg, Valdosta, 1996 Chevrolet Impala; and Fred Roberson, Valdosta, 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo. Best Muscle Cars: John Gray, Live Oak, 1971 Chevy Chevelle; Bill Kerstein, McAlpin, Florida, 2008 Shelby GT 500; Rick Jegl, Citrus Springs, Florida, 1987 Buick Grand National; Merlyn Hammer, Valdosta, 1987 Buick Regal T; and Joe Hagey, White Springs, Florida, 1969 Dodge Dart. Best of Trucks: Wil Doe, Dowling Park, 1946 Jeep Willys; and Lee McMullen, Hawthorne, Florida, 1951 International Harvester 120. Best Street Rod: Jim Allison, Live Oak, 1939 Chevrolet Cabriolet; and Richard Runnall, Jennings, Florida, 1932 Chevrolet Confederate. Best Original: Jim LaValley, Valdosta, 1966 Ford Ranchero.
Best of Show went to Live Oak’s Steven Brisois for his 1968 Buick Riviera, and the Members’ Choice Award went to Lake City, Florida’s, Gerry Hale for his replica of a 1904 Oldsmobile Pie Wagon, which he fabricated himself from pictures.
The day was orchestrated by live music. DJ Scott Carroll of Lake City played a steady stream of classic hits, and Sweet Harmony, a trio of ladies from Jasper, sang several sets of oldies. (Sweet Harmony also led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to President Craig Carter, who celebrated a birthday that day.) We were pleased to have both DJ Carroll and Sweet Harmony back for a third year.
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the sponsors of the Auto & Truck Show: John’s Lawn Equipment (386-362-5020) and L&J Gas & Diesel (386-208-0808) of Live Oak, and Jonathan’s Mr. Fix It (386-249-4975) and ACV Community Services of Dowling Park.
Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s Autumn Fest, which will be held on Oct. 6. Have a great fall!