PERKIOMEN TWP. - Whether rolling through for a quick glimpse of highly tuned hot rods, or setting up a tent and hanging out all day, spectators and enthusiasts alike enjoyed blue skies and red Chevys at Perkiomen Township Fire Company's 23rd annual Al Laskey Memorial Auto Show on Sunday.

Buffed cars with even buffer engines lined up in neat rows on the Perkiomen Valley School District's campus. There were pre-war Buicks, Corvettes, Mustangs, hot rods, trucks, and a little something for everyone in the show's 24 categories of automobile. Each enthusiast's ride made some sort of statement, ranging from the sheer roar of the engine to the simple Pepe Le Pew decal on a 1946 Buick Sports Coupe or the two stuffed bears enjoying the bench seats of a '57 Chevy, complete with diner food hung on the window of the car next to them.

Some of the enthusiasts in attendance have been coming to the show for years, but with more than 300 cars to admire, newcomers were encouraged to lift the hood. Newlyweds Kathy and Ray Pepe did just that when they brought their 1946 Buick Sports Coupe to the show for the first time.

'We got married in February. We haven't been to many shows so we came up here and figured we'd have some fun,' Ray said, about their adventure in Perkiomen.

Mike Zielinkski, Perkiomen Township Fire Company chairman of trustees, chief engineer and event DJ, said Sunday was another great chapter in the history of the car show.

'It was a perfect day and a perfect turn out,' Zielinksi said, gesturing to the breeze that brought a coolness to the 80-degree air. 'You can't ask for better weather than this.'

According to Zielinkski, the company starts planning for the event months in advance under the management of auto show chairmen and fire personnel Brad Bonner and Jeff Parlee. The annual car show, founded by late firefighter Al Laskey, is one of the major fundraising events for the fire company.

The categories, either a time period or specialty group, receive trophies for first through third. The trophies are sponsored by various businesses and individuals who help to support the fire company.

'Each category judges another. So we'll have the classics vote for one class or the Camaros will vote on the Mustangs,' said Zielinkski. 'And the big trophy is for the people's choice. Any spectators that come can vote for their favorite overall car.'

Below the trophies waiting to be awarded were photographs of past people's choice winners, which featured a fire company engine more than once. In the center of one collection of photographs was a small, unmarked photograph of Laskey posed next to his own fine-tuned machine.

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