When the announcement came that COVID-19 had forced the cancellation of one of the most respected charity fundraising events in the Fraser Valley, The Crystal Gala, Abbotsford based business and foundation supporter, 360 Group of Companies stepped up with a novel concept to raise funds.
“We knew that the Crystal Gala had planned on gifting some important pieces of equipment for local hospitals to help people in our community, and we knew that COVID would make those gifts difficult in 2020,” says 360 Group of Companies President Rick Francoeur. “My brother Daryl and I wanted to try to replace some of the money that the Gala event would have raised, so we came up with the concept of a drive thru hot rod car show. We started making calls and people jumped at the idea. Soon the show had been expanded to include vintage airplanes, tractors, trucks, emergency service vehicles, a significant display of military equipment from conflicts around the globe along with the hot rods, muscle cars, vintage and classic cars that 360 Group is known for. We were surprised and humbled by the outpouring of support.”
The two-day drive thru event, held at the Abbotsford TRADEX August 15 and 16 successfully raised $56,828.00 for the Crystal Gala, which in turn will use the funds to purchase equipment to support women and men in their fight against breast cancer.
Foundation Chair Gerri Charles says their organization is thrilled with the results of the event, which came together in less than five weeks. “When 360 Group said they had an idea for a drive thru car show to raise money for us we were delighted. When we saw the incredible effort to create something really special in our honour it was almost overwhelming. To see a local company step up with an idea to help and then so many people come together during these uncertain time to raise so much money in the fight against breast cancer was very moving.”
The event featured 120,000 square feet of vintage buses, planes, tractors, 9-1-1 vehicles, along with some of the best collector, antique, hot rod and exotic cars from private collections in British Columbia. The BC Truck Museum, the BC Farm Museum and the Canadian Museum of Flight all participated in the event, as well as entries and displays by dozens of fire departments, paramedic organizations and police detachments. The Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival also supported the event with a large drive thru food truck festival which took place simultaneously in the TRADEX parking lot. Many local and national businesses also stepped up to sponsor and support the event, and a number of long-time supporters of the Crystal Gala also made personal contributions.
“Not only did people from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley come out in force to support the event, people drove from the interior, Vancouver Island and as far away as Dease Lake,” says 360 Group President Rick Francoeur. “We wanted to do something that brought people together in a fun, safe way while raising money for a fantastic charity – and from all of the positive response we heard throughout the weekend, I think we succeeded.”
360 Group of Companies includes 360 Fabrication, Canada’s largest hot rod shop; 360 Car and Marine Audio and 360 Collision Centres, the most highly certified auto body repair facility in the Fraser Valley.
The Crystal Gala Foundation is a 100% volunteer run organization which has raised in excess of $3 million for the fight against breast cancer in the Fraser Valley.
For more information visit: www.360fabrication.com.