On the Saturday eve of Mother’s Day, a crowd of a couple hundred people converged to Lakewood Ranch Main Street to witness the elegance and splendor of shiny high-end luxury automobiles blended with the sounds of ear-piercing engines roaring,
Ghost Buster’s ambulance sirens blaring and in the background a live Blues performance. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porches, Rolls Royces, Mercedes, BMWs and cars I’d never heard of, like the British McClaren race car, were shining like new pennies and reflecting the extravagant scenery of Lakewood Ranch in their bodies.
For some, like the large number of young boys, it was all about dreaming about owning a ‘sweet’ toy like this one day. There were even a few little girls gazing, such as Alexis Routa, age 9, (pictured). Buying a car was pie-in-the sky for some. A distinct possibility for the affluent gentleman and discriminating woman. And for the sake of the dealers, the reality of a sale or two, or at least connections.
But even I (one of those who holds on to a car until it dies), dreamed of riding in the blue Beemer down the magnolia tree-laden downtown streets into the natural splendor of Lakewood Ranch’s winding roads bordered with unspoiled greenery and lakes…as long as I didn’t go towards University Parkway…it’d be a nice ride.
“I came here because I have always loved cars,” said Dave Donelly, who was one of many who stood in the crowds admiring or snapping photos on their cell phones. “I live in the area.”
The real deal for this event was that it raised money for terminally ill children. Benefiting Flight to the North Pole and hosted and organized by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, this one day event raised approximately $15,000 according to Colonel Duane Devison.
“That’s all inclusive…everything from car entry fees to the 50/50 raffle,” Colonel Devison said.
The Flight to the North Pole is in its 32nd year and was started by a foundation established by a number of Eastern Airline flight attendants. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota/Bradenton Airport Fire Department help to make this a memorable event for sick children during the holiday season. For more information visit www.flighttothenorthpole.org.
Photos by Patti Pearson