Community engagement with car show and informational booths
■ Dennis Fletcher / Contributed
Last Saturday, the annual Hemet “Spring Phling” block party was held, which included a classic car show.
A lot of action took place at the southwest corner of Florida Avenue and Harvard Street. This corner is the location of the McPherson building that occupies the entire block and houses the Valley Chronicle newspaper, as well as Shooters Sports Bar and Grill. The McPherson family is one of the co-sponsors of this annual event. I was joined by junior reporters, Schmel a.k.a “Flash” and his brother Jamar, from Hemet Eye News to witness this event.
The three of us took a tour through the classic cars displayed in the parking lot and waved at the car owners sitting in a circle talking about the good ol’ days to anybody who would listen. The last car we saw was a 1940 Pontiac “Woodie” Station Wagon. The proud owner gave us a tour circling around his beautiful Woodie. He explained to us how the seats could be removed and you can put a mattress in the back to turn it into a little traveling camper. The proud owner and I then circled around to the front of this beautifully restored Woodie to look at the front dash and then open up the hood. We took a gander at the immaculate engine compartment including the long skinny six volt battery, followed by a bright red coil, the carburetor, then the long black block of a straight-eight engine with a flat head. The generator was driven off of the fan belt as it still is today and everything was as clean as a whistle. These cars are displayed regularly in the Hemet and San Jacinto area. There are a number of classic car clubs in the San Jacinto Valley.
At the corner, a family from Temecula came to offer their spicy falafel and Middle Eastern grilled masterpieces. They shared the area with other booths serving equally good barbecue and Mexican food. Other booths in the area also offered jewelry as well as arts and crafts products for sale. There was even a bandstand that kept the music flowing pretty much all throughout the festival.
We set up our booth for the Valley Chronicle to show kids what our reporters do and we may have even convinced a few of them to take an interest in journalism. We offered them a bottle of water informing them that they were each deputized as a “Cub Reporter.” We advised them that if they encountered anything newsworthy that should be reported in the paper, they were to contact us. Parents stood by nodding their heads in approval, probably knowing that this would encourage their children to focus on their English studies as well as their local community.
We also gave away current and past issues of the Chronicle showcasing other articles I have written about amethyst jewelry, Pi Day, or other local events around town. It was all in an effort to get people interested in what we are trying to do to show the good side of life here in the San Jacinto Valley.
The far end of our table was dedicated to promoting the CERT disaster recovery organization of volunteers that operates throughout America under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team, and that’s exactly what it is; a team of dedicated citizens trained to respond to earthquakes, fires, wind storms, and flooding disasters. Once you have received the free 22-hour training from your county disaster preparedness officials, you are better able to take care of yourself, your pets, the other members of your household, and your neighbors. You can also then join forces with your fellow CERT team members to provide immediate support to your surrounding community.
By visiting www.rivcocert.org, you’ll be able to find information about where the next free CERT classes are being taught in your area, by what agency, and how to register. If you live within the San Jacinto Valley, then drop by the Hemet Fire Department and leave your name, phone number, and email address for their mailing list and they will notify you the next time there is a general CERT meeting in the valley.
The 2019 Hemet Spring Phling finally wound to a close just before 8 p.m. The closing band of this event was the Garage Sale Monsters from Temecula. As you could see and hear, some enthusiastic locals kept dancing and cheering the Monsters on till the end. A good time was had by all who attended. Be sure to come back next year, ya hear?