Hot rods, hot chili, good cause

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, November 20, 2008

It was time for the Rio Grande Traders Christmas celebration.

The Driver shop went ahead with the usual planning – a visit from Santa, a car show and a village cook-off.

But for store owner Jason Gould, it wasn’t enough.


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“We wanted to do more with it being Christmas and everything,” Gould said.

Using “The Driver Twister,” the spinning wheel bought by the Driver Business Association, Gould and fellow Driver business owners developed a raffle special to the hearts of the Driver residents.

Between this Saturday and Dec. 20, people can buy tickets to spin the wheel. If the spin lands on either one of the wheel’s tornadoes, their names will be entered to win a Driver Volunteer Department pedal car donated by Rio Grande Traders and worth an estimated $250.

All the money raised through the sale of tickets will go the Jacob Butler fund.

Jacob is the 2-year-old son of Kevin and Cameron Butler, two Suffolk residents and Nansemond River High School graduates with many ties to the Driver community.

In September, Jacob was diagnosed with leukemia.

The community has rallied behind the family to help raise funds and support for the Butlers.

The wheel will be at Rio Grande throughout this weekend, and then it will be moved to a new Driver store every weekend until Dec. 20.

“We wanted people to visit Driver, and we wanted to help a family out,” Gould said.

Aside from spinning wheel though, Rio Grande’s “Hot Rods, Hot Chili” event will be taking place from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Neighboring stores in the village will be taking part in a chili cook-off where shoppers and visitors can walk from store to store trying the chili and then vote on the best.

Gould said it has gotten to the point now that Driver residents have heard about the contest and want to enter in their own recipes.

“It’s going to be cool,” he said. “It’s turning into something really big.”

Also, throughout the village, dozens of classic cars will be on display – thanks to some old friends of Gould’s.

“My old car buddies heard about us doing this — and they’re a real charitable bunch — so they’re bringing about 60 to 70 cars out here,” he said.

And no Christmas celebration would be complete without Santa Claus himself.

Children can get their picture taken with Santa in a 1936 Auburn for free at the store from noon to 2 p.m.

For more information about the event, call 538-3512.