IONIA — A showcase of classic vehicles won’t be taking place next month in downtown Ionia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the cancellation of the show also impacts local charities that benefit from money raised for the event.
The Ionia Cruisin’ Classics Car, Truck and Bike Show has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Missy Mitchell. It was slated for June 6.
The event, which started in 2005, has traditionally brought in classic cars, trucks and bikes from all over Michigan to downtown Ionia to compete for awards and offer a fun day in the Ionia community to kick off summer. The money raised from registered vehicles and sponsors also goes back to the community — donated to local food pantries, the Ionia Community Awareness group and Soaring Above Ionia Teen Center.
Now that the event’s been canceled, Mitchell said those charities won’t receive the funding they usually get from the show. Last year’s event raised $4,000 for several food pantries, ICA and Soaring Above, Mitchell said.
“We’re very sad about that because we know how important that money is to all these various charities,” she said.
Organizers were holding out hope for this year’s show, Mitchell said. They made an announcement in April saying they would wait until May 1 to make a decision.
“We were watching other things around us that were already canceling (June 6),” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the “worst case scenario” would not be a show, but a cruise-in and music. Organizers wanted the event to help the community celebrate coming out of quarantine and kicking off summer.
“We were hopeful that was going to happen,” Mitchell said.
After social distancing rules were extended and events started to cancel, organizers decided to cancel the show on May 4, Mitchell said.
“We felt that as much as we wanted to still be the kickoff to summer and we wanted to still have a cruise-in, that we were being selfish and we needed to look at the health and safety of everyone else,” Mitchell said. “So we figured we may as well cancel it this year and start working on next year.”
The event had six sponsors and a couple preregistered vehicles that already paid. Mitchell said show organizers will get in contact with them regarding refunds. Usually sponsors and preregistered vehicles start registering for the car show in March, Mitchell said. The timing helped save costs, Mitchell said.
Sponsors and those who preregistered vehicles will also have the option to either allow show organizers to send the money to charity or prepay for next year’s show, Mitchell said.
This year marks Mitchell’s fourth with the vehicle show. She plans to work with the show website designer to set up a link for the community if they want to donate to local charities. The website is: ioniacruisinclassics.com.
“If people still want to donate, that would be amazing,” Mitchell said.
More information and updates can be found on the Ionia Cruisin’ Classics Facebook page.
— Contact reporter Evan Sasiela at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.