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Eighth Annual Derby Dash

By Jill Childs

Last Saturday, car and truck enthusiasts gathered for a charitable event that was fun for the whole family. The Eighth Annual Derby Dash was held at the Darby Pavilion in Lake City, next to the beautiful Lake DeSoto. With rows and rows of automobiles, entertainment, vendor booths, and children’s activities, there was much to see and do.

The Derby Dash began with the National Anthem, sang by Earl Green of the Mercy Mountain Boys, and was proceeded by a prayer and the Color Guard, carried out by the Honor Guard of the American Legion. They held a People’s Choice Car & Truck competition where the people had the opportunity to cast their ballot for their favorite car or truck. The event’s activities also included a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction was held, along with a trophy ceremony.

Derby Dash visitors had plenty of great vehicles to browse at the event. - SVT Photo by Jill Childs

The trophy ceremony had five categories: Pre-50’s, 50’s-70’s, 70’s-90’s, Trucks, and Modern. Over 40 trophies were awarded.

Also included in the festivities was an eating contest sponsored by Moe’s and Buffalo Wild Wings of Lake City and a vintage motorcycle show. There were cash prizes and give-aways throughout the day. A large bounce house slide, face painting booth and other kids’ activities at the gazebo added even more entertainment for children. While many adults enjoy coming to this event to look at the variety of automobiles, or to register their own, children are fascinated by the show as well. Jim and Sharon Davis of Lake City brought their three-year-old grandson, James Dimmet, who loves cars, trucks, and motorcycles. They enjoy traveling to Daytona every year and like to attend the car shows frequently held at Hardee’s in Lake City. They said the Derby Dash is a “good show” for everyone to attend.

Gene Wolcott of Lake City brought his 1975 Cheverolet Corvette. -Photo by Jill Childs

Blaze Norman of Tallahassee getting his face painted at the Derby Dash last weekend. -Photo by Jill Childs

Gene Wolcott of Lake City brought his 1975 Cheverolet Corvette for the first time this year. He just purchased the car about six months ago. Wolcott came to the Derby Dash last year just to walk around and enjoy the show, but this year he decided to enter his car because of the show’s quality. He also said he likes that it benefits local veterans and other charitable organizations.

Bobby Chesser of Gainesville brought his 1935 Ford Coupe with a Chevrolet 350 motor, Turbo 700R Ford Transmission, and a Ford Explorer rear end. He has owned it for three years and drives it every day. He said that he and his wife love riding in it and they enjoy going places together. Chesser also commented that he enjoys when people ask questions about their car.

Bobby Chesser of Gainesville brought his 1935 Ford Coupe. -Photo by Jill Childs

Chesser said, “Most anywhere … there’s always people looking at it because it’s different.”

The Dash came together with the help of many generous sponsors and with the funds generated through the participant registration fees, vendor fees, and the raffles. The event benefited the American Legion Post 57, local veteran’s organizations, and Relay for Life (Columbia County Chapter). Charitable vendor booths also found advantages through their presence at the event. Another Way, Inc. was present with a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle they raffled to raise money for transportation vans for their domestic violence and rape crisis centers.

Derby Dash last weekend.   -Photo by Jill Childs

The Derby Dash was an example of a community coming together to have fun for a good purpose. Children and adults enjoyed strolling through the event, automobile owners used their hobbies to raise money for three organizations, while businesses and vendors were great sources of support.

For more information on the Derby Dash, visit and plan to drive out for next year’s show. With such a great selection of vehicles all coming out for the good of the local community, this is an event that is certain to grow and gain more fans each year.