r More than 100 classic cars are expected to be at the Mervyn Sharp Bennion Central Utah Veterans Home on Saturday, June 24, as part of the third annual Veterans Car Show and Cruise.
An hour before the car show opens, a 5K fun “Run for the Vets” will take place on a route that circles the facility at 1551 N. Main in Payson.rFree admission to the car show is but one enticement to the event, which is a fundraiser for the veterans home. This skilled nursing facility cares for 108 residents ranging in age from late 20s to 97. The residents are former military men and women who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, the Persian Gulf and Iraqi Enduring Freedom.
“We want to bring the community into our facility,” said Katie Partridge, who heads the Recreation Therapy Department at the veterans home. “We want people to know we have this amazing place full of amazing people … and want to give people the opportunity to show our veterans the respect they deserve.”r“Classic” cars are vehicles that are at least 25 years old. Most of the cars in the show have been masterfully restored and are kept in a garage until taken out for car shows, Partridge said. A highlight of the Classic Car Show and Cruise is the opportunity the veterans have to ride in a vehicle similar to the one they owned when they were younger. Maybe a ’56 Chevy? ‘66 Mustang? ’76 GTO? Oh, the memories!
A wide variety of vendors have signed up to participate in the event, providing what could be called a “county fair” atmosphere of food, drink and fun as well as information about products and services provided by local organizations.
While the general public pays no admission, vendors and classic car owners pay registration fees to show off their car or set up a booth. Those attending can also purchase tickets to be entered into a drawing for one of the many prizes donated by local organizations.r“More than 900 people were here last year,” Partridge said. “We hope even more will be here this year, especially with the addition of our Run for the Vets.”
Proceeds from the day’s activities will go to the Santa Zone, which is a program offered to the center’s residents each December. Staff members purchase a variety of gifts, and on “shopping day,” each veteran has a chance to select two to three items to give to family members for Christmas.rRegistration will starts at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, for the 5K “Run for the Vets.” Lunch, a T-shirt and a commemorative dog tag are included in the $20 registration fee. Forms can be picked up at the veterans home or emailed upon request. Make checks payable to Central Utah Veterans Home or CUVH. The 5K – just over 3.1 miles – race will start at 8 a.m.
The classic cars will be onsite from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though some will take residents off-site for 30- to 60-minute rides starting at 10 a.m. A BBQ lunch will be available at midday for $10 a plate. Tickets for the prize drawing will be available for purchase all day and the drawing will begin at 4 p.m.
Awards and prizes will be presented for various types of classic cars such as oldest, most unique, best restored to original condition and more. Live music, games and other activities also will be offered throughout the day.r“The Classic Car Show and Cruise is an event the veteran residents look forward to all year,” Partridge said. “We try to improve it every year and make it better for those attending and for our veterans.”rIn addition to the Classic Car Show and Cruise, Central Utah Veterans Home hosts an Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween trick-or-treating for the local community. Earlier this spring, the staff stuffed 15,000 eggs that were “hidden” inside the facility so residents could see the children find them.r“Our residents really enjoy interacting with children who come into the facility,” Partridge said. “Any intergenerational activity seems to be good for them.”rWhat is officially named the Mervyn Sharp Bennion Central Utah Veterans Home admitted its first resident in September 2013. It is one of four veterans homes in the state, with other facilities located in Ogden, Salt Lake City and St. George.