Proffit’s custom auto show comes to IW

Published 10:08 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cecil Proffit stands beside his 1951 Mercury in his garage in Isle of Wight County.

Cecil Proffit has been running his own custom auto show for decades.

He started putting it on with a car club in the ‘60s at Norfolk Scope.

“That didn’t work out, so I took it over,” he said. “I ran it for the rest of the years as a business.”

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For the past seven years, the custom car show has been held as a fundraiser for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. It raised $21,000 for the society last year.

This year, Isle of Wight County is getting involved, helping Proffit put on the show. His health is declining and he was running out of room at his 10-acre piece of land, he said.

“It was a good time for me to help them to get it,” Proffit said. “I just think it’s going to be a great thing.”

This year’s event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Heritage Park, 21311 Courthouse Highway in Windsor. People interested in participating can register during business hours at Nike Park in Carrollton or onsite the day of the event from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

General admission is $5 each. Children under the age of 12 get in free with an adult.

Proffit expects about 300 vehicles at the event. It is open to cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and farm equipment from any decade.

“We don’t have an age limit,” said Darlene Keyt, events coordinator for Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation. “Anybody that has a car that wants to show it can come to our show.”

Proffit, who has been collecting cars for about 50 years, will have some of his own vehicles there, including a ’51 Mercury, a ’57 Thunderbird and a ‘48 Crosley, a station wagon that Proffit called the “first little family car.”

“These are just fantastic, custom cars that are coming from all over,” Keyt said. “The southeastern part of Virginia is one of the largest car collector areas in the country. We have some nationally recognized cars.”

For example, Keyt said, a car collector named M.C. Warren from Tappahannock will be bringing his Gray Prime 1937 Studebaker Three Window Prez Coupe, one of only eight left in the world.

In addition to the cool cars, there will be food, musical entertainment, auto merchandise vendors and fundraisers.

Two of the biggest fundraisers, Keyt said, will raise money for the county food pantry and a school group.

The Central Hill Hunt Club will hold a People’s Choice Award contest for the best vehicle. All funds raised will go toward the Isle of Wight County food pantry.

The Windsor High School Beta Club is selling $5 raffle tickets to win a new Fiat.

“[Vendors will be] promoting commercial items for the car or the automotive industry, but there’s also money that’s going back into the community,” Keyt said.

She added that the show will likely continue in Isle of Wight County for a long time.

“This is extending an already great event,” Keyt said. “We’re excited about bringing a new event to the county.”

For more information on the show, call 365-6325.