As the car show grows, charities benefit

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June 23 – MANKATO – Mankato Area Meets and Cruises founder Brandon Fluegge isn’t worried about prices at the gas pump on Saturday. He knows attendees plan to fill up their tanks for the organization’s third annual charity event – and other car-related events such as roll-ins.

“That hasn’t been a problem; people still want to come out and show off their vehicles.”

MMC is sponsoring its third annual charity car show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Unique Classic Cars dealership lot, 2015 Bassett Drive.

There is no admission charge for spectators to the show which includes live music and food vendors.

A $10 entrance fee will be charged to automobile owners who bring non-perishable food or cash donations for two area nonprofits, ECHO Food Shelf and Kids Against Hunger. Those who choose not to bring donations will be charged $15.

Show attendees can opt for a 16-hour cruise through the local countryside.

Fluegge’s idea for a vehicle show stemmed from his love of vehicles, he said.

“Cars and trucks are my passion; I love everything about them and would love to share that love with others.”

Donations were not collected at the inaugural display at Unique Classic Cars in 2020. That event was considered a test run, Fluegge said.

As the show’s popularity increases, so does the number of donations.

“This first year there were 109 participants; in 2021 there were 152 vehicles at the Wickersham Show.”

Last year, MMC collected 250 pounds of food and distributed hundreds of dollars to its selected charities in 2021, BENCHS and ECHO.

“We donated $250 to the Food Shelf and $750 to BENCHS (Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society,” Fluegge said.

He said MCC’s goal for Saturday’s event was to double the number of attendees and donations.

“We have room for 1,000 vehicles,” he said, describing the show space on the grounds of co-sponsor Unique Classic Cars.

“We think it’s wonderful that companies are coming to support us,” said ECHO Deputy Director Sara Diel.

She recalls that her emergency food pantry received non-perishable items last year from the MCC food drive; but she does not know what type of vehicle MCC used to drop off the donations.

Diel joked that she would have remembered for sure if they had been transported in a classic Ford Mustang or a shiny restored convertible.

Fluegge said he used his pickup; a vehicle as practical as it is attractive.

“I delivered them in my 2015 Dodge Ram 1500,” Fluegge said.

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