Nearly 1,000 classic cars filled the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday February 14th for the 13th annual Dr. George Car Show benefiting the Desert Cancer Foundation. Attendees also enjoyed more than 80 vendors, a silent auction, live entertainment, raffles and a beer garden.
An estimated attendance of about 8,000 car lovers flooded the grounds 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Valentine's Day. Entries came from all over California, as well as from Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Some vehicles had an estimated value of more than $100,000.
Dr. Sebastian George was a nationally-known oncologist, who co-founded the Desert Cancer Foundation and often served patients who couldn't afford cancer treatment until he passed away in 2002. The car show began the following year in his honor.
Palm Springs Cruisin' Association sponsored the show and also holds a Cruise-In Series the first Saturday of each month from November through May to benefit Desert Cancer Foundation. The volunteer organization has donated $540,000 to the foundation the last 12 years, including $50,000 last year.
The car club has been in existence since 1987 and has over 400 members. Its primary accomplishments are staging charitable car shows and promoting camaraderie among car enthusiasts not only in the Coachella Valley, but throughout Southern California. The idea for the Dr. George grew from one Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association member’s Yvonne McKenzie gratitude to the doctor for helping her beat cancer. Shortly after the doctor's death, she encouraged her fellow members that it would be a fitting tribute to his memory to organize an annual charity car show, with the proceeds donated to the Desert Cancer Foundation.
At every Dr. George Car Show, more celebrity guests donate their time — as judges — than to any other car show in the country. The show has boasted such luminaries as: Larry Fisher (President of the NHRA Museum), Sam Foose (Legendary custom car designer/builder and Chip's Dad), Dick Guldstrand ("Mr. Corvette" and winning race car driver at Daytona in 1966), Dick Messer (Director Emeritus, Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A.), and Gary Meadors (Founder of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association – the largest car show producer in the U.S.).
Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association (PSCA) also hosts a monthly Cruise-In at Westfield Mall to help raise funding for Desert Cancer Foundation 1st Saturday of each month October through May. The Cruise-In allows PSCA Members (free entry) and Non Members ($5.00 entry) to have their Customs, Rods, Classics, Muscle Cars, Trucks and Motorcycles on display. Trophies, Raffles, 50-50, Vendors and Games are all part of the Free event for spectators.
Each dollar donated provides $7 in medical services for Desert Cancer Foundation (DCF) clients. This is the result of greatly discounted medical costs provided to the DCF by its wonderful supporters in the local medical community. As of last year, the show’s proceeds have raised over $500,000.00 which equates to approximately $3.5 million in medical services. The conventional wisdom is that this makes the Dr. George Car Show the largest contributor of end-benefit dollars than any other charity car show in the country.
Upcoming dates for the monthly Cruise-In:
March 7, April 4, May 2, 2015 from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm at Westfield Palm Desert (North side of Mall behind Macy’s).
Photography by Ceasar Rodriguez