FOR VETS, a non-profit organization is hosting the event “Vettes on the River, Vettes Supporting Vets” (VOTR).
More than 250 Chevrolet Corvettes will be in LeClaire on Saturday, Aug. 27, for the annual event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Corvettes should be in attendance and on display by 10 a.m. that day. A flag-raising ceremony, hosted by Vietnam Veterans, will take place at 10:30 a.m. to salute all veterans and active military.
This car show traces its roots back in 2010 when it had only 23 Corvettes on hand and it was just a small meet and greet between the Mid-West Corvettes club and Cedar Rapids Corvette club.
By the next year, the Cedar Rapids club invited the Mid-West Corvettes club to Dubuque, Iowa, and had grown to a total of 66 cars. From the 2011 car show, a Cedar Rapids club member mentioned “This is like Vettes on the River” and a car show name was born.
In 2014, the show moved from Dubuque to its current location in LeClaire. By this time, the car show was operating on all cylinders with 257 corvettes from 32 clubs, so they started adding activities such as a NASCAR racing simulator. The fundraising focus of the show changed to benefit veterans and the Vietnam Veterans Gateway Chapter 776 was chosen as a benefactor. The show raised $7,000 for the local chapter.
In 2015, the City of LeClaire sought the show’s return and 35 clubs were invited and 262 Corvettes rolled up to the event. The show added a live band and expanded the color guard ceremony. After growing from 12 core VOTR committee members and 50-plus volunteers, the event raised $9,000 for the Vietnam Veterans Mississippi Valley Memorial Chapter 669 on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities.
New leadership came about in 2019 with the event founders moving away. To retain the show’s non-profit status and ensure all show proceeds benefited veterans, Sherry Zaruba-Cassatt formed the nonprofit FOR VETS.
An active LeClaire resident, Ms. Zaruba-Cassatt owns Zarubas Salon, Cassatt Drywall, and is president of FOR VETS. Her personal connection to the veteran community – and all the good it does for Leclaire – gave her the strength to take on the task of organizing the event.
“The local veterans were telling me how they built a ramp for another veteran because he had become ill and was unable to walk up his steps. They started telling us the things they did with their money and that did it for me,” Ms. Zaruba-Cassatt said.
The pandemic made things stall out and no event was held in 2020, but in 2021 the event returned and raised $12,000 for local veterans and drew in 236 Corvettes.
In addition to helping the veterans, the event brings increased business to the local community. Ms. Zaruba-Cassatt said some show owners have called it their “Black Friday” due to the crowds.
Of the veterans served, she added “These men and women are in their late 70’s and early 80’s and they are still doing for us, so I think it’s very important for us to continue to do for them.”
Vettes on the River Schedule:
- 8 a.m. – Gates open; breakfast at the levee pavilion – Big Dave & Holly’s.
- 8-10:30 am – Registration.
- 9 a.m. – Raffle drawings, silent auction and 50/50 begins.
- 10:30 am – Lunch at the levee pavilion – Big Dave & Holly’s, south end; What BBQ, north end.
- 10:30 a.m. – Color guard ceremony.
- 11 am – First Riverboat Twilight cruise; others at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- 3 p.m. – Awards presentation; 50/50 Drawing, raffle items, silent auction; and presentation of “C” Class Veterans’ Choice Awards, LeClaire Mayor’s Choice Award Donation Presentation to Vietnam Veterans.