Show draws 61 vehicles, earns over $2K in fundraiser

       An expanded car show at the Bijou School drew a greatly expanded number of vehicles, people and earnings April 28.

Bijou Car Show April 28... ABOVE: Gabrielle Williams of Woodland Park takes a swing at a wrecked car. People paid for the opportunity, as part of the event fundraiser. Gabrielle was there with her parents, Gunnar and Kara Williams, who had two vehicles on display.
Westside Pioneer photo

       When the dust had cleared - not to mention hordes of seeds from nearby elm trees when an afternoon breeze slightly marred the mostly sunny six-hour event - the Westside alternative high school was more than $2,000 richer.
       “We were full,” exulted Dave Fisher, the Bijou security officer who last year dreamed up and organized the first Classic, Street Rod & Antique Car Show on the school grounds at 2904 W. Kiowa St. “There was a big variety of cars, as well as trucks and bicycles, which was really wonderful.”
       Money sources included vehicle entry fees, concessions, hammer swings on a beat-up car and even sales of hubcaps that Bijou students had creatively painted.
       He had no estimate on the numbers of people who strolled through to admire the rigs at the free event, but “hundreds” is probably a safe call.
       A comparison of two key stats between last year and this year gives an idea how much the event grew in its second year:
  • 2011: 41 cars and $900 raised.
  • 2012: 67 cars and $2,500 raised.
           Paying back his up-front expenses will cut this year's number by about $400, Fisher estimated; however, as an all-volunteer endeavor, the remainder will go to school needs.

    Three bicycles by members of the City Wide Bike Club were set up in a row, with Tonio Valerio's customized work in the foreground.
    Westside Pioneer photo

           He expects that most of the school funds will be used for Response to Intervention (RTI), a district-coordinated program through which students with educational issues are identified and given individualized help.
           Fisher is already looking ahead to 2013, when he forsees a third annual, even bigger Bijou Car Show. This year, the show area was restricted to the rear (north and northwest sides) outside the school, but next year he's thinking about additionally opening up the parking areas on the west and southwest sides.
           With District 11 cutting spending in different areas in recent years to balance its budget, staff and parents at various schools have been looking at an array of fundraiser ideas to fill the resulting educational gaps. A car buff himself, Fisher said his idea was initially met with skepticism by school administration. But he said he was given the OK to try it after he promised, “I will throw the money out there [to pay the up-front costs], and if I make any money then pay me back. If I don't, then I lose.”
           He said he's built support for the show by talking to various “hotrodders” on cruise nights or at car club meetings throughout the area.
           Bijou is a choice-only school for students in grades 9-12. Its site formerly housed Whittier Elementary, which was closed after the 2008-09 school year.

    At the April 28 Bijou Car Show, Mark and Lyn Orth stand beside the 1962 VW bus they restored and customized. Mark said he initially had two old VWs, one that was crashed in front and the other in back, so he took the best parts of each, bodyworking them together into the shortened shape shown here. How many hours of work? "Oh, my Lord," Lyn responded.
    Westside Pioneer photo

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