BREWER, Maine — Medway resident Mike Pooler spent summers at camp during his youth and thinks all kids should get a chance to enjoy the experience of swimming in a lake, boating and enjoying the outdoors.
That’s one reason he drove his 1971 Chevelle to the third annual New England School of Metalwork Classic Car Show and Open House, held Saturday at Maine Oxy.
The funds raised during the car show benefit Camp CaPella on Phillips Lake in Dedham, which provides summertime experiences to children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
“I’m here to help the kids,” said Pooler. “I grew up at camp … so I know what it’s like.”
Maine Oxy, an employee-owned welding supplies company that launched the nonprofit New England School of Metalwork in Auburn a couple years ago, has been holding a car show at the southern Maine locale for years and three years ago brought the event to Brewer, company president Dan Guerin said Saturday.
All of the proceeds from the event, which featured the car show, a silent auction, T-shirt sales, a welding competition and food concessions, go directly to Camp CaPella, he said.
“In the last three years we’ve probably raised about $7,000 to $8,000,” Guerin said. “Our goal this year is $5,000.”
More than 50 show cars and trucks, which ranged from an old unpainted Studebaker to a shiny red 2011 Mustang, filled the Maine Oxy parking lot and spilled over into the Cap’s Tavern lot.
“It’s great fun,” Guerin said. “We enjoy doing it.”
Chris Henderson of Hampden and his son Cameron, 6, brought a 1973 Corvette to the show.
Cameron said he liked “everything” about the show.
“He’s into cars,” his dad said.
It’s pretty easy to say he was not the only car lover in the group.
Kevin and Donna McEwen of Charleston own a corral of cars, they said. Kevin refurbished a 1934 Ford street rod 11 years ago; he has rebuilt a 1929 Model A and a 1964 Pontiac LeMans, which they brought to Saturday’s show, and his wife’s 1978 Ford King Cobra Mustang is next in line.
“It is fun,” said Donna McEwen, adding that the shows are even better when the money goes to a good cause.
Dana Mosher, executive director of Camp CaPella, said in a statement that the funds will be used to provide summer camp scholarships.
The event “is great fun for everyone, yet also provides proceeds to send kids with disabilities to summer camp,” he said. “For all of us, this great show is a win-win event.”
Many campers have life-changing experiences at Camp CaPella, he has said.
The Brewer gathering also featured the metalwork school’s Mobile Weld Training Center, which provided a space to let those interested in welding give it a try.
Those who registered their vehicles for the car show are the ones who cast ballots for the winners. The Favorite Car was owned by Dennis Pinkham of Kenduskeag; Most Original, George and Carol Smith of Orrington; Best Work In Progress, Steve Taylor of Orrington; Best Paint, Ed Weirick of East Orland; and Best Interior went to Larry Bowden of Brewer.
Lowell Gardner of Hudson won the Oxy-Fuel cutting contest by getting through an 8-inch-long, half-inch-thick piece of steel with an acetylene torch in 28 seconds.
“He started his torch, cut the plate and shut off the torch, in this time,” said Jeff MacDonald, Brewer Maine Oxy manager.
The annual fundraiser is a great way to raise money for a good cause and have fun at the same time, he said.
“We had a great show and raised a lot of money for Camp Capella,” MacDonald said.