Saturday’s installment of Back to the Strip Night was one for the record books as crowds not only packed The Strip, but they also crushed the prior mark for donations to Meals on Wheels.
“We raised over $26,000 and counting for Meals on Wheels,” said co-organizer Mary Walker who coordinated this year’s event along with Chris Terry and Joey Clark. “That’s a new record.”
Back to the Strip began four years ago to give locals a chance to cruise down memory lane when The Strip was the place to be on weekends. In addition to waxing nostalgic, the event was also devised as a way to raise money for Meals on Wheels.
Since its inception, Back to the Strip Night has exploded into a community-wide celebration. It’s like the Warren County Fair on wheels, minus the guy who tries to guess your weight. Food vendors line the street and people are geared toward mingling with friends as they make their way up and down the midway, or in this case The Strip.
Traffic was bottlenecked with vehicles inching along barely moving as bystanders lined the street and hollered.
Back to the Strip Night includes T-shirts, live music and even a car show. There are collection points for people to drop off canned food items and all donations benefit Meals on Wheels.
“Meals on Wheels serves about 200 people every day and they get very little help from the government,” Walker said, noting the food service provides hot meals for the elderly and shut-ins.
Raised directly from the Back to the Strip Car Show at Warren County Fairgrounds and the actual Back to the Strip Night on New Smithville Highway were 1,587 pounds of canned food, all of which will go to the local Meals on Wheels.
“All the money stays local,” Walker said, noting contributions were accepted all during the day-long event that started at the fairgrounds.
A total of 150 vehicles entered the car show Saturday with $7,140 raised through donations and the people’s choice contest. In the case of people’s choice, jars were placed in front of the cars and the cars with the most money in their jars were conferred the award. Jeff Tubb raised $1,202, fol-lowed by Bill Brewer with $1,033 and Randy Craven with $462.
In addition to raising money for Meals on Wheels, the event held a pilot program with the Hu-mane Society where food was accepted for pets of those who receive Meals on Wheels. A total of 1,587 in pet food was raised.
As for complaints by some that police enforcement may have been too tight given the numer-ous traffic stops, Walker said she feels it helped make a safer environment.
“I’m afraid if it had continued like last year, someone was going to get hurt and that would have been the end of Back to the Strip and the fundraiser for Meals on Wheels,” Walker said. “This year I noticed people stayed longer and the numbers even got bigger as the night went on because I think people felt safer.”
With the success of this year, the date for the fifth annual Back to the Strip Night has already been set. It is scheduled for May 7, 2016.