Annual car festival for spectator entertainment, benefiting local charities – The Coastland Times

Annual car festival, entertainment for spectators, benefiting local charities

Posted at 6:54 am Wed May 3, 2023

The fifth annual OBX Rod and Custom Festival is set to take place on May 5 and 6.

An event that benefits other local charities, in its short four-year history event officials say they have donated $86,000 back to the local community.

“The show is free for spectators,” said Michael Tillett, one of the event’s founders.

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Tillett, who has a pristine 1985 Monte Carlo SS, contacted Richard Quidley, who also has an exhibit in his 1979 Z28 Camaro, to have more than a routine car show. Tillett said he knew Quidley had experience putting on motorcycle events, they just added two more wheels to come up with a different kind of car show to benefit the community.

Tillett said with the help of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and several sponsors, the goal for the first event in 2019 was to have 200 cars … 519 showed up.

Tillett explained that a $50 early registration fee or a $60 event fee goes into the pot, which is split between local charities.

“Many of the sponsors have been with us since the beginning and we get more every year,” Quidley said. “Our sponsors pay for the other elements that keep the wheels of the event moving.”

And the wheels are rolling.

In 2020, to meet the COVID restrictions, the festival was spread over 17 different locations to avoid having 100 people at each location.

“Most of the participants liked this concept so well that it became part of the show,” Tillett said. “Not only does this allow more locals to see the car, but it allows participants to see more areas of the Outer Banks than if they were all sitting in one place.”

Another part of the festival is that the OBX Rod and Custom Festival is not judged.

“Most shows make you sit in one place for 10 to 3 hours hoping to get a trophy for the best thing,” Quidley explained.

“It’s a non-competitive environment,” Tillett added.

This is not to say that there is a complete lack of competition.

When registration opens on New Year’s Eve, the first person to sign up gets a custom painted toolbox valued at $500. So it’s a race to be number one. Then, during the event, another $500 custom tool box goes to the winner of a scavenger hunt and another box to the winner of a wild card poker event.

Overall, the chance to win one of several toolboxes has become a popular draw, and it’s not a bad return on the $50 early bird registration fee, or even the regular $60 fee if you happen to get one.

Another is the casual atmosphere and that this event is held in multiple locations, with participants free to come and go as they please, rather than being required to sit in one place for six hours.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air for car owners,” Tillett explained. “It’s just friends and friendship.”

Tillett went on to say that a large number of attendees are full-time car show people, either retired or independently wealthy, with cars worth $150,000 to $200,000, if not more.

This does not mean that every car has a high value. Every year we’ve seen cars of all kinds, including some in need of restoration and others in the process of being restored. One year there was even a car that had to be loaded and unloaded from the trailer.

Last year they ended up with cars from 27 states in Canada, one year there was even an entry from Finland.

This year, pre-registration for 2023 had 100 people in less than 30 minutes. When registration closed, there were 534 cars on the list.

In addition to several display areas where locals can view the assortment of vehicles on display, some of the activities organized include:
– Saturday Beach Road Cruise from Kitty Hawk Elementary School to Nags Head venue.
– Wild card poker up to five locations on Friday and Saturday.
– Scavenger hunt to find answers to several trivia questions.
– Tool Box Raffle.

Along with Tillett and Quidley, the nonprofit charity includes Brenda Quidley, who prints all the t-shirts, and Sarah Hole, who handles social media and advertising duties.

According to Hole, the list of charities they give to grows every year. So far it includes:
• Children and Youth Partnership for Dare County
• Respected motorsport charity group of the county
• County Food for Thought Program
• Hatteras United Methodist Church Toy Drive
• Roanoke Island Food Pantry
• Hyde County Christmas Cheer Fund
• Virginia Tillett Elizabeth City State Endowment Scholarship Fund



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