PASSION & amp; PILGRIMAGE Car show funds youth group

A local youth leader came up with a trip fund-raiser that isanything but ordinary.
WARREN -- Church youth group leaders often decide to raise funds with a carwash.
Kevin Knowlton decided to have a car show.
Christ Church, 2627 Atlantic St. will have its second Classic Car Cruise on June 2. Registration is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Trophies will be awarded at 4 p.m.
Knowlton, 37, who is in his third year as youth leader of the high school students at Christ Church, came up with the idea. He said he wasn't trying to think of something bigger than typical fund-raisers such as carwashes or spaghetti dinners.
"I've always had a passion for cars," he said.
He's also had a lifelong interest in things technical. He is employed at the Kmart Distribution Center while working on a business and technology degree at Kent State University.
Past attempt: Last year's show raised a little over $2,000, used to send the church youths to Appalachia. Knowlton said the youths did light construction and other work on homes of the needy. This year's show will fund the same program. The trip is set for June 9 to 16.
"It's a week of fellowship and fun," said the youth leader.
Knowlton also takes the youths on pilgrimages, including one to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Knowlton said the area is called, "God's Handprint." Indian folklore says the Finger Lakes were formed when God put his hand on that area's beautiful land.
Such pilgrimages, he said, "brings the kids closer together."
Since many classic car buffs didn't know about the show last year, Knowlton expects this year's turnout will top last year's turnout of 107 vehicles.
New face: One classic car owner planning to go to the show for the first time is Eric Offerdahl of Howland, the owner Howland Springs Water Co. and a 1939 Packard.
He acquired the car, which he said had been restored by the previous owner in the mid-'70s, in late 1999.
Offerdahl said since he had begun driving the vehicle to shows, he had learned easygoing owners jokingly refer to their vehicles in terms of feet. Offerdahl said his vehicle, which looked immaculate to a layperson's eye, was a "10-footer."
"That means it looks good from 10 feet away," he said.
Offerdahl, who is also a retired electrician, said he became interested in Packards when he helped wire the Packard Museum for free.
"I just fell in love with them," Offerdahl said. "There's just something about the Packard name."
The show is open to all types of cars, from Packards to antiques to street rods. Registration at the show is by donation.
The show has other features, including trophies, dash plaques for the first 100 cars, T-shirts and door prizes. There will also be a pasta dinner and bake sale.
The Pittsburgh band, "Brother Earl" will perform an eclectic mix of music, and DJ "Big Rick" will play tunes from 3 to 5 p.m.
XThe rain date for the show is June 9. For more information, call (330) 372-4998.