Volunteers ready LeMay cars for Saturday

By Marianne Lincoln

PARKLAND, WA — At the end of this week, the 36th annual LeMay Car Show will be held. This year it also includes an auction and a swap meet along with the other collector cars that show up and compete. The event costs $10 for general admission and $5 for students 6-17. It will happen at the family home, 13508 C Street and at the Marymount Event Center 325 152nd St., Tacoma. (That’s actually in Spanaway, but the Post Office communities don’t match the real ones out here.) Both are just a block or two off Pacific Avenue (SR7).

Prior to the LeMay show, there is a great deal of work that takes place on the cars and the grounds. Today I steered to the LeMay home at lunchtime. Nancy was standing on the porch, chatting with several volunteers. Inside the house, more volunteers were doing the finishing touches on lunch.

Once the crew arrived from Marymount, Nancy rang the dinner bell by the porch and they all headed up the stairs into the house to start lunch. Multiple tables filled the former living room of the house. Nancy said a brief grace, then each person grabbed a plate from the table and loaded it up in the kitchen with salad, fruit, sandwiches and cookies.

Such is a day as a volunteer for the LeMay Car Show. Many of the regular volunteers travel from distant location such as Hawaii and New York and many from Oregon and other locations around the Pacific Northwest. Some get to have a room in the old convent as a place to sleep, others drive their motorhomes here. Dinner is also served for the volunteers. Chores vary from polishing and sweeping out cars and displays, setting up chains to guide the visitors to sweeping the sidewalk and making sure the pop machines are running. It’s a labor of love.

This year, they invited me out to see “Car Tom” and the Restoration Center. It’s at a different location and not part of the tour. This is where the cars, but not only cars, are restored. They were also working on a drill press, a refrigerator and some odd kind of dredging scoop there also. The site has a shop with every tool imaginable, a paint room, a shed for sandblasting, a table full of spray paint cans and a wood working shop. It also has lots of nooks, crannies and hideaways for resting, reading a magazine or manual on cars and lots of other toys that men fancy. There is a big screen TV, lots of miniature cars and the well located posters and calendars of car show hotties, a definite sign of men who work long hours there.

Outside there are many projects in progress from trucks with tractor treads to old Cadillacs awaiting their turn to be renewed.

Over at Marymount, there cars are shining, the chains and posts are being laid out and some displays vacuumed. In the main event hall there is an old bomb shelter from the 1950’s along with a classic Cadillac and the Duesenberg. The shelter was acquired with old medical equipment that was still in the box. They assembled it all for the display.

This event shows you a much broader share of the LeMay Collection, many that you won’t see in the Tacoma museum. Everything is ready to visit because of hard work by many volunteers giving months of their time. If you see one of them in their special annual car show shirt on Saturday, thank them for their time.

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