A luxury car festival held over Memorial Day weekend raised more than $7,700 to fund scholarships for students in automotive technologies at Sandhills Community College.
The Sandhills Motoring Festival presented a check to SCC Foundation Wednesday at Little River Resort.
“We are very thankful for this support and sponsorship of these scholarships,” said Germaine Elkins, vice president of institutional development at Sandhills and executive director of its Foundation. “We think this is great. We look forward to continuing this partnership.”
Motoring Festival President Marvin Waters said the event, in its second year, was a “tremendous success” and topped the $5,000 raised during the inaugural festival.
“We are very pleased to have SCC as a partner and we are working hard to make Sandhills Motoring Festival 2020 even more successful than 2019,” Waters said.
The inaugural festival took place mainly at Little River Resort and also included a display of cars in Tufts Memorial Park on the Village Green in Pinehurst as part of the weekend of events.
But this year, festival organizers approached the village of Pinehurst about having a formal tie-in by staging what was billed as the “Concours in the Village” on the Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend.
The village agreed to be one of the main sponsors, allowing the use of its streets in the downtown as well as Tufts Park and its stage, which Waters said “kicked it up to the next level.”
A ‘Perfect Setting’
The Concours in the Village featured 125 Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes competing in various categories, as well as other beautiful luxury automobiles showcased on the streets in the historic village center.
Waters said the village provided the “perfect setting” for the Sunday event, which drew rave reviews from spectators, car owners and the village.
One of the two top awards — Best in Show in the sporting category — went to a 1960 Lotus Elite owned by Bill Timmons of Pinehurst.
Waters said the second annual event was a success by nearly every measure. He said it was sold-out in terms of the entries, and estimated that 3,500 to 4,000 spectators came out during the day, despite the 90-plus-degree heat.
“It was a great day,” he said. “Everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Waters said Wednesday that Bob Ingram, a well-known car collector from Durham and former CEO and chairman of GlaxoWellcome who served as chairman of the Pinehurst Concours, was very complimentary of the event. He brought three cars from his collection.
He added that Ingram said the festival reminded him and his wife of the one in Carmel by the Sea in California.
The Concours on the Avenue is very popular and draws large crowds to its downtown. Pinehurst got a taste of that this year, Waters said.
Waters, along with Steve Redwine and others, organized the Sandhills Motoring Festival to help fill a void after a successful five-year run of the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance.
“They paved the way for this,” Waters said of their festival. “It identified the thirst for something like our festival. This proved that there is room and support for an event like this.”
‘Not Sleepy At All’
Waters said that success will attract more car owners to come here.
“We had big, significant cars from big, significant collectors for our sleepy little event,” Waters said. “This year was not sleepy at all.”
And Waters said it also helped local businesses that were open on Sunday by bringing more people into the downtown.
“Everyone in the village was pleased with what happened,” Waters said.
He said in May that there was some “trepidation” by a few business owners at first because it was a new, and they wondered whether it would bring additional business. He said the initial feedback was positive.
Waters said it was “a natural” for the festival to make scholarships for students in automotive technologies at Sandhills its main charity, as did the former Pinehurst Concours. He and other organizers noted that it also benefits their “hobby” as well.
They said some of the students might develop an interest in the field of car restoration.
“We want people to know the money is going and what it supports,” Waters said of the donation to the college Foundation for the scholarships. “There is not a soul here who doesn’t want to help these kids through these scholarships.”
Elkins said tuition for SCC students is about $2,500 a year. She added that tool belts students need cost about $1,000 too $1,500.
Waters and other organizers discussed the possibility of SCC having more of a presence next year at the festival and doing something on the campus, such as “Coffee and Cars.”
He said they hope to raise even more money for the scholarships in the years ahead.
“We really want to keep growing our event,” he said.
They are already well into planning the third annual festival, with Ferraris being the featured car, Waters said. It will also feature a display of racing stock cars from 1950 to the present.
The festival is also looking to add a Saturday night concert at Tufts Park, borrowing from the Pinehurst Concours, which proved to be another crowd draw, Waters said.
The weekend festival will kick off Friday evening with a private “Automobiles & BBQ” dinner at Little River Resort. On Saturday, many of the cars will take to the back roads in the area for a road rally in the morning and then the concert that evening.
The Concours in the Village will take place that Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We are really excited about next year’s event,” Waters said. “We want it to keep getting bigger and better.”