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Clifton Cruise-In Grows

Cruise-In adds motorcycles and chili to the mix.

<bt>The sixth annual Clifton Cruise-in , set for Labor Day, will not just be about cars this year, as the Lions Club of Clifton has teamed up with the Wednesday Night Crew and the CASI Old Dominion Chili Pod to bring audiences an unforgettable end to the summer.

Visitors to the car show will also be able to beef up on some chili and keep a straight face watching the end of the motorcycle poker run. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Clifton Mayor and Lion's Club President Jim Chesley is expecting several thousand people to show up for the combined car show, chili cook-off and motorcycle poker run, as well as for the live music and entertainment at the barn on Main Street.

“The town is a beautiful setting and ideal for something like this. It’s different from having the car show in a parking lot, but instead in historic Clifton," he said.

All of the proceeds from the car show along with the day's other events will go to charities ranging from Toys for Tots, the Clifton Playground Fund and the INOVA Hospital Kids Fund — about 20 charities in all. Last year the show netted about $12,000 for worthy causes.

“Hopefully we will make more money than last year. That’s what this car show is all about — helping out. It’s a very good cause," said Chesley.

Over the last few years the car show has grown both in the number of cars and in visitors. But what has kept people coming back for the last five years?

“People look forward to this car show. People enjoy this kind of venue. They enjoy coming out and seeing all the cars. I hope it will continue for years to come.”

Chesley owns a classic car as well and knows the draw of antique cars as well as anyone.

"Those cars will never come back. They are antique, they are unique. It doesn’t matter today if the car has a big engine, you will never have another 1955 Chevy Nomad again. We will never have those cars we grew up with. I think that’s the passion of people who own these things.

BUT THIS YEAR'S show is not just about cars, since it will be the first time the Wednesday Night Crew has ended their poker run in Clifton.

For people who don't know, a motorcycle poker run starts with each contestant "buying in" for a poker hand. But contestants are given another card for their hand at every stop they make. When they ride into Clifton, the person with the best hand will receive a prize, and the rest of the money will go to charity.

Rusty Hall, member of the Wednesday Night Crew, describes the poker run as a chance for motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy a nice ride and end up in a nice place.

"When we all roll in, we will come in a pack of about 100 to 150 motorcycles. That's a pretty good sized parade for anyone to see," said Hall, who will be leading the pack in a 1999 Harley Davidson Road King Classic.

They will be arriving no later 3 p.m. in order to enjoy the end of the car show and chili cook-off and just in time to watch live music by the Nighthawks and Point Blank.

The chili cook-off will be held in the barn on Main Street, with cooks arriving at 9:30 a.m. and turn-in for judging at 1:30 a.m. Contestants pay for each entry, with a prize for the best chili. The rest will benefit the Inova Hospital Children's Fun.

Chesley said if someone wanted to donate money to a charity that is not represented at the show, they can still make a contribution to it.

“If someone wants to donate to a different charity they can give us the money and we will make sure that 100 percent of it goes to that charity,” said Chesley.

CHESLEY EXPECTS several thousand people to show up to look at the unique cars, the unique chili, and a unique game of poker.

“It will be very interesting and will bring a huge crowd. I look forward to working with them," said Chesley.

This year's car show will have around 200 cars of all makes and models, with prizes for various categories ranging from Best GM or Ford to Best Engine, Best Paint Job, and Best Back Seat.

The groups decided to combine these charitable events in order to bring out more people and to help benefit the organizations they were fundraising for, and hopefully this is just the first time.

"We decided to put all of these events together to get more community involvement. If it works out we're going to be doing this every year," said Hall.