Car Show Shines at The Drake Oak Brook
By Larry Atseff
This story is in two parts. First, we share photos of the beautiful vehicles at the recent Chicago Auto Club West (CACW) car show that ran on Father’s Day, June 19th. Second, we want to share the beauty of the evolving reasons for the show itself.
The Show Itself
This past Father’s Day was a perfect, sun-splashed Sunday. It was made even more beautiful at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel by an assembled collection of 500+ of the most gorgeous luxury and classic cars you will ever see, anywhere. They had an estimated combined value of over $50 million. The event was organized and presented by Chicago Auto Club West (CACW), founded by Dean Kaliakmanis in 2020, with the able support of his wife Stephanie. Jim Nagle, the proprietor of the Drake, has provided the setting for this show four times recently. As Jim said, “It is wonderful to see so many fathers and their families come out and see such a large collection of extraordinary vehicles, all in one place. We are honored to have these vehicles and their owners attend.” Lee Hoener, Drake Hotel General Manager, is the event co-creator of the show and has been instrumental in growing it each year. As you will note from the photographs, indeed the show let auto aficionados get up close and personal with vehicles they normally would not see on the streets. It is estimated that 2,500, including many Club members, were in attendance. In the relaxed, casual atmosphere, visitors had plenty of time to talk to owners and take pictures, even sit in the vehicles.
In addition, roughly twenty CACW local automotive based sponsors were in attendance to answer questions and educate the public about their companies. The day was complete with music, food and beverages. In short, everything ran smoothly as it always does, in no small part due to the constant communication “As the show closed, some four hours later, exits for the stars of the show were as carefully orchestrated as their entrances, complete with appropriate engine roars, that everyone just loved. A good time has been had by all, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year, bigger and better than ever.” —DEAN KALIAKMANIS, Founder Chicago Auto Club West A by Dean and Stephanie (through chicagoautoclubwest.com and facebook) to the membership, as well as the assistance of a host of volunteers, including new Illinois CACW President Justin Carlock at the show itself. Stephanie said “On the day of the show, Dean and I were stationed at entrances to personally welcome CACW members and visitors alike. In addition, as more vehicle owners showed up, they, too, were escorted to pre-planned locations.” Dean adds, “As the show closed, some four hours later, exits for the stars of the show were as carefully orchestrated as their entrances, complete with appropriate engine roars, that everyone just loved. A good time has been had by all, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year, bigger and better than ever.”
Purpose Of CACW has evolved.
Certainly, a prime goal of these events is to give owners and fans of luxury and classic cars a chance to see and talk and about and enjoy these special vehicles. But Dean says, “I, and others, have come to realize that these cars and these events can be a wonderful draw for an even larger purpose.” “The pandemic has had a devastating effect on many, including some in our ‘automobile enthusiast’ community.” “Fortunately, we have been able to help. We run fundraisers, and a large portion of the money that comes in from tickets, entry fees, club memberships, and promotion discounts between members goes to help others in and beyond our CACW family.
“It’s absolutely amazing when a group of car guys get together and throw an event that focuses on giving back, but not only that, it incorporates having families involved. We are super appreciative that Chicago Auto Club West and the Drake Hotel allowed us to participate and showcase cars for this amazing cause. Watching parents, fathers, mothers, children and grandparents smile throughout the day created memories that will last a lifetime.” – PARIN SHAH, chicago Motor cars”
It comes back many times over.” As I say in our mission statement “Our members feel a sense of pride in participating in our events. We provide value by creating meaningful events, experiences, and fundraisers. This club is made by our members, and our members make the experiences.” “A perfect example is this year’s beneficiaries: Kitties Warriors Foundation in Itasca. Over $9000 was raised at the Drake Oak Brook event. This non-profit helps people cope with expenses of cancer treatment on an individual level.” “As time goes on, and CACW becomes larger, we will be able to do even more to help others. It is a very good feeling for all involved. I am also proud to say that other clubs are starting to follow our lead.” Dean’s last point: “I hope to see more new faces next year.”
*Photos provided by JR Photon