With the possible exception of girls and surfing, cruising around beach towns in a fine ride has dominated the subject matter of Beach Boys songs throughout the band's history.
That may explain why the Shore De-Tour Classic Car Show has been such a hit since its start on Memorial Day weekend of 2013.
Founded by St. George's Pub owner Jim Fowler as a benefit to the Brigantine Lions Club Seeing Eye Dog program, the fifth annual show returns 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, May 28 in the parking lot adjacent to the pub, 4282 Harbor Beach Blvd. Last year's show featured about 85 cars, and this year close to 150 have registered.
The show is mainly for cars and trucks built in 1980 or earlier, but has included some newer limited-edition or custom-made models destined to become collectibles. Registration is free and the owner of each registered vehicle gets two complimentary breakfasts at St. George's Pub. Money for the Seeing Eye program is raised through the sale of voting tickets, which are $5 each. Each vote ticket is entered in a random drawing for two free dinners at the pub.
Ticket holders vote for their top three vehicles, and the winners get trophies. The top vote-getter will be depicted on the next year's Shore De-Tour T-shirts, which are also donated by Fowler, along with small American flags the Lions sell to support the program. Donations are always welcome. To register a vehicle call 609-457-0115.
Last year's event raised more than $4,000 for Seeing Eye, the oldest guide-dog school in the world founded in 1929 and based in Morristown. The Brigantine Lions have financed the training of five Seeing Eye dogs and are in the process of sponsoring a sixth. The purchase and training of each dog is several thousand dollars, according to Brigantine Lions Club president Tom Milhous. Brigantine Elementary School students participate in a contest to name each dog the Brigantine Lions sponsor.
After the car show, the vehicles participate in a parade that starts at the pub around 1 p.m. and travels the length of the island to 15th Street North and back.
This year a couple of new fundraising components have been added. The Brigantine Art Walk, which starts May 27 at Haneman Park and runs 5-8 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 2, will have several artists displaying their work around the perimeter of the show for the first time. All artwork sold will include a 10 percent contribution to the Seeing Eye. Additionally, a dunk tank will be set up where for $1 a throw people can try to dunk city officials and members of the Brigantine police and fire departments.
The show also relies on corporate sponsorship. One of its biggest proponents since its start five years ago was Bayside Medical and Dental owner Dr. David Donati Sr., a classic car enthusiast who died in February. Last year Donati's 1966 red Corvette was voted the best car in the show.
“Dr. Donati was a $500 sponsor every year,” said Fowler. “We hope that in his passing, someone else will step up to the plate. That would be a fitting tribute to him.”