To the Editor:
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of those who helped make the Antique Automobile Club of America’s 2009 National Southeastern Special Spring Meet a great success. The AACA is a national organization with over 60,000 members, that has is headquarters in Hershey, PA.
We had 350 cars registered from over 20 different states attend this antique car show. Many of these cars are very rare and valuable and I think we were fortunate to be able to host this meet in our town. We also had 180 people come to Lebanon to judge these cars and there were many members of the general public who came to view these cars on the show field Saturday. We have received many positive compliments from our visitors about the people of Lebanon, our facilities and our town.
This was the third time in the 74-year history of the AACA that a National Meet has been held in Middle Tennessee. The last was in 1999. We had the President and several Directors of the AACA present in Lebanon for this event. They were very impressed with our city and with the friendly welcome they received. They were amazed at our fairgrounds and with Fiddler’s Grove in particular. I heard several comments as to how they wished they had something like it where they lived.
There are many businesses and individuals who contributed greatly to our Meet. Classic Cars Southeast, Scott Smith of Burchett Ford and Curt Gibbs of The Mill at Lebanon hosted our Meet and Greet on Thursday evening, and those who attended were treated to a great time. Refreshments for that evening at The Mill were provided by Desoto’s Ice Cream and the Bull & Whistle.
On Friday, our guests were transported to Nashville to the Lane Antique Auto Museum, courtesy of Wise Coaches. All of the catering for the meals and banquets on Friday and Saturday and at the Judges Breakfast was provided by Paul Vanhook of Lil’ Paul’s. Entertainment on Friday evening was provided by the Chessmen and Minnie Pearl, aka Michelle Robertson. Connie Bullington of Comfort Suites provided our host hotel and meeting facilities. Ricky Rodriguez and Heather Spillman of the Wilson County Convention and Visitors Bureau provided goodie bags for the car owners and even passed them out for us. They provided a cheerful welcome to Lebanon for our guests.
Sue Vanatta of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce was helpful by arranging the Chamber Trolley to help transport some of our campers to the Meet and Greet on Thursday. Bub Smallen with LoJac Safety Equipment graciously provided two programmable message boards for us out on the interstate. Mike Justice, William Glover and the Police Explorers provided security each night for our guests.
Larry Tomlinson and his staff at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center were also wonderful. It seemed that there was nothing those guys were not willing to do to help us and provide the support we needed. The camping facilities at the fairgrounds were enjoyed by more than 30 campers during this show. Our attendees were also amazed that our fairgrounds could handle a car show of this size, in addition to a cattle show and a cutting horse show on the same day!
I think what made this show so special to our AACA visitors was Fiddler’s Grove. Antique buildings and antique cars go very well together. Also to compliment the event and to set the tone for the show, we had the help of Mac Griffin doing DJ work and the Bluegrass group One Way Out providing entertainment. We had the full support and cooperation of the good folks of Wilson County Promotions, and for that, we thank them.
We have had a great many people from all over the country give us very positive comments about our Fiddler’s Grove. I think that the people of Lebanon and Wilson County have a tendency take our Grove for granted. Very few communities have what we are so fortunate to have here. We should be grateful that we have a dedicated group of people who take care of and preserve this area.
Leslie Denson and his boys had the Grove decorated and looking great! Leslie even helped transport our many older visitors from the parking lot to view the cars on Saturday. Geneva Thomas and the Fiddler’s Grove Foundation came out on Saturday and gave presentations in the buildings. Hale Moss, the president of Wilson County Promotions, was there and welcomed our guests at the awards banquet. There were a lot of out of town people who left Lebanon Saturday night with a smile on their face and a lot of good memories because of the efforts of these folks and many others. They also contributed to our economy by leaving a lot of money in the cash registers of our hotels, restaurants and gas stations.
The members of the Mid-Tenn AACA, which meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 pm at our clubhouse in Fiddler’s Grove, are the ones who made this car show possible. This group shares a common interest and appreciation of antique cars. Many of our members have been working tirelessly on planning this meet for several months. They are the ones who I have to thank the most. Without them, this large national show would not have been possible.
Glenn Edwards, ChairmanAACA 2009 Southeastern Special Spring MeetLebanon
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