EAST MANATEE -- "Nine days of fun -- 15 events."
That's the catch phrase of the highly ambitious 29th annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival, a smorgasbord of wildly varying events leading up to the July 7 annual Super Boat Grand Prix boat race off Sarasota's Lido Beach between New Pass and Big Pass.
Those 15 events kicked off Saturday with a golf tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf & Country Club and continued Sunday in Lakewood Ranch with a car show sponsored by Lakewood Ranch Main Street featuring 200 vehicles and well-known DJ Lance Hubschmitt of "Lance's Cruzin' To The Hop" local car show fame.
There was also a "Fun Run" featuring boats and personal watercraft on Sarasota Bay going at the same time as the car show.
Monday's event is a Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Sarasota Kennel Club's One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room.
"The idea is to have something for everyone," said Lucy Nicandri, vice president of Suncoast Charities For Children, which channels proceeds from the 15 lead-up events and the race itself into special needs at Oak Park School, Special Olympics Florida, Community Haven, Loveland Center, The Florida Center Special Athlete Boosters and Children First.
The car show on Main Street was celebrating its fifth year and, based on attendance and the quality of the entries, did not disappoint, fans said.
A car from Palmetto and one from Ellenton seemed to draw the most fan interest.
Ellenton's Dwain Revard entered a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 XL, a convertible about the length of three modern Smart cars.
"I bought it four years ago when I saw it advertised in a car magazine," Revard said. "I paid $20,000 to a party in Orlando and ended up
putting another $10,000 into it. It's really popular because they didn't make many of these."
The car has only 60,000 original miles, Revard added.
Revard only drives the Ford to car shows and back. Otherwise he can be found in his Hyundai Sante Fe.
So, was it worth it to spend all that money on a five-decade old car?
One look at Revard's face as crowds came up to gaze longingly into a bygone era seemed to answer the question.
"Whenever I drive it I get thumbs up and people go crazy over it," Revard said.
Nearby, Dan Wilkinson of Palmetto received plenty of reaction from his 2012 yellow Lizardo.
A Lizardo is actually a hometown Manatee County creation with only five on the planet at this time, according to Wilkinson, a local yacht designer from Palmetto who builds cars in his Bradenton shop, called Wilkinson's. He hopes to build more in the coming 12 months.
"I built this yellow one to take to shows like this," Wilkinson said. "Our market is the guy over 50 who is done with his speed days but still wants to be seen in a truly exotic car."
The custom cars sell for about $35,000, depending on the buyer's desires.
The fiberglass Lizardo is built on a Fiero chassis. The buyer can select any GM engine block.
"I recommend the 3800 with a supercharger," Wilkinson said. "That has a kick to it."
"Its lines look like a Lamborghini," said Mark Jordan, a Corvette owner from Lakewood Ranch.
The yellow Lizardo at the Lakewood Ranch show had a small V-6.
Wilkinson's website is FieroFiberglass.com and his contact information is email@example.com and 941-920-5325.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 6686.