Golden Isles Church of God is hoping to set a personal record with its annual car, truck and bike show this year, all to raise money for local and international projects to help children.
It all started in 2019, says Executive Pastor Justin Smith, with a few friends who wanted another opportunity to show off their pride and joys. Smith didn’t have a car to show off then, but he did get to see a different side of the car show crowd.
“We had a couple of people in our church who went around and did car shows, and I went to my first car club that year. Just from speaking to some of them, they were very passionate,” Smith said. “Car show people love to show off their cars, trucks, vehicles. They love to talk about them and have people come and look at them … That’s their baby, so to speak.”
That became the core of the church’s first car show in 2019, which attracted about 50 vehicles.
“That first year we had 50, then 60, last year was 86. This year the goal is 100,” he said.
All vehicles are welcome, he said. Muscle cars, classics and customs are common, but everything from dune buggies to fully customized vans can find a place.
“Even if we don’t have a category for them, they can still come in and enter it,” Smith said.
Figuring out how to attract more has been an interesting experience, he said — a lot of “car people” tend to be part of clubs or groups. Once you hook one, chances are they’ll bring others.
It’s scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 13 at Golden Isles Church of God, 200 Boswell Lane in Brunswick, and will also feature vendors, food stalls and entertainment for kids.
Car folks also tend to register on the day of the event, Smith said, but anyone who wants to pre-register for $20 can do so by calling him at 912-265-0937 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration on the day of is $25, he said.
It’s a safe environment for families, he said, and is largely Christian-themed, including religious music provided by a DJ.
Much of the event, including the car show and inflatable bounce houses, are open to the public, he continued.
“If you’ve got a big family, we understand it can be tight on the budget, so we try to make it free,” Smith said. “Our motto is actually ‘Bringing together family and friends,’ it definitely goes along with our goal.”
All proceeds go to the church’s youth and ladies’ ministries, he said. Church of God has some local and international projects under each ministry. This year, all money raised will go toward helping to repair and rebuild orphanages in Ukraine that have been damaged during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Some of the money will stay local by helping to pay for summer programs for kids in kindergarten through high school.
The biggest expense, by far, is the trophies, he added, but it’s important to show appreciation for the people who make the event possible.
“We do a big trophy, the kids’ choice,” Smith said. “Anyone (age) 18 and under can vote for their favorite car. Then we have our people’s choice and best in show, and then we have smaller trophies.
“We know that’s what they enjoy, and we try to appreciate and thank them. Without cars, we can’t have a car show.”