Shriners bring classic cars to Parksville’s beach

The event has drawn nearly 300 vehicles and raised $10,000 in each of its first two years

Anyone who has been to a parade with Shrine Club members scooting around on minibikes or go-carts has probably identified Shriners with vehicles for some time. But when the Van Isle Shriners took over Parksville’s annual beachside car show three years ago, the philanthropic organization was breaking new ground.

“It used to be run by the Ocean Idlers club. But I guess it was having some difficulties and somebody approached the Shriners about running the car show,” said Don “D.W.” Denney, secretary of the Van Isle Shriners Show and Shine Club. “We said ‘We don’t know anything about judging cars, but we know how to organize events.”

The 27th annual Car Show on the Beach takes place at Parksville’s Community Park this Sunday, July 31, beginning when the park’s gates open at 7 a.m. It will be the third annual Shriner’s Show & Shine, which has become a fixture in the group’s efforts to raise funds for mobility-challenged children and their families who need the assistance of Shriner’s hospitals.

The Van Isle Shriners is made up of the Parksville/Qualicum Shrine Club 34 and Nanaimo Shrine Club 10, which operates under the auspices of the Burnaby-based Gizeh Shriners of B.C. and Yukon.

“The Van Isle Shriners Show & Shine Club was organized and chartered by Gizeh,” said Denney. “The whole purpose of our club is to run the car show.”

And it has proven quite effective, drawing nearly 300 vehicles and raising approximately $10,000 in each of its first two years managing the show and shine.

“We expect after this year’s show we’ll have made about $30,000 to go to Gizeh’s Child Services Society,” said Denney, noting funds help children and their family members with transportation costs to access the nearest Shriner’s hospitals, in either Spokane, Wash., or Portland, Ore.

“There’s a new Shriners in Your Community Fund, so if there’s a local child who needs a new wheelchair or walking aids, we have money available from fundraisers like the car show,” he said.

This year’s event will feature 30 trophies, sponsored by businesses and service organizations in both Parksville-Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo. The Shriner’s Choice/Best in Show Award is sponsored jointly by the Nanaimo and Parksville-Qualicum Shrine Clubs — but Shriners won’t be doing the judging for the award.

“We have the Seaside Cruizers, the ones who do the Father’s Day car show, come in and judge for us,” said Denney.

Sunday’s festivities will open with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Parksville-Qualicum Shriners. A hot dog-hamburger barbecue lunch will be hosted by the Nanaimo Shriners. An all-day 50/50 draw will be held, and parking is by donation.

Pre-registration online has closed, but drivers may register during Saturday’s cruise night, prior to the 7 p.m. departure from Parksville A&W; or on-site Sunday from 7-10 a.m. behind the curling rink.

For more info, contact rrayner@gulfview.ca or visit www.vanisleshrinersshowandshine.com.