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Plains Antique Car Show draws automobile collectors and admirers of Carters

PLAINS, Ga (WRBL) - We know Plains is famous for peanuts.  The small town and home of former President Jimmy Carter hosts Sumter County’s annual Peanut Festival.

But over the weekend, cars became the talk of the town. The small community hosted the 11th Annual Plains Antique Car Show. The show is not driven by money, and the gathering is about so much more than just beautiful cars.

For Miguel and Zeke Ruiz, the car show gave them a chance to catch up with their grandfather Robert Atkinson.  They traveled with their parents to Plains from Atlanta to see their grandfather and take in the car show with him.

Atkinson says he takes his patriotic-themed Dodge Challenger RT 100 Anniversary Edition to at least 25 shows per year. He says the Plains Antique Car Show is one of his favorites.

“I thought it would be a good idea to drive up and spend a few hours. I thought I’d see some of my family and also be at a car show around enthusiasts who enjoy the same hobby I do,” Atkinson says.

Richard Harris of Columbus agrees that coming to the car show in Plains is a treat.

“It’s just a beautiful place,” Harris says. “The people are very warm and friendly here and it’s just great.”

He and fellow members of the Southern Cruisers of Columbus car club entered 20 cars in the show and won the best participation award.

The Plains Antique Car Show drew people from all over the southeast, according to the show’s promoter.

“We’ve got all the way down from Tampa and all the way over to North Carolina. And we got one from Tennessee today,” says Larry Dudley, of Premium Car Shows.  Dudley says 85 or 86 total entries made up this year’s spring car show.

“It’s just not a big fundraiser,” says Ellen Harris, one of the event coordinators in Plains. “It’s just a big fun day,” Harris adds with a smile.

Ellen Harris adds that the City of Plains puts on the car show for a much more valuable reason than money.

“We just do a lot of things for the community because we are a close community and we just love each other and we just love doing things,” she says.

And while at most car shows names such as Ford and Chevrolet take the spotlight, Carter was the most popular name mentioned here.

Many of those attending the car show expressed their interest to see Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter.  The Carters usually attend the annual event, but they were not able to make Saturday’s show.  But they were on the minds of many.  Those who haven’t met them expressed a desire to meet the internationally famous Presidential couple who calls Plains home.  Others who had met them at past car shows could not say enough kind things about how gracious and welcoming both Mr. and Mrs. Carter always are to visitors and community members.

Irwin Gendreau’s 1930 Ford Sport Coup Deluxe took the most coveted prize of the show—President Carter’s Choice Award.  But Gendreau would just as soon have met the man himself.

“This is our first time coming to Plains, Georgia, and we wanted to meet Mr. Carter, and didn’t get to meet him, but we did earn his trophy” Gendreau says.

Plains plans another car show this year on Veteran’s Day weekend in November.

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