For the South Okanagan families who made the trip to Oliver’s Area 27 on Thursday morning, July 20, things couldn’t have been more perfect.
The blue skies and hot sun complimented the high-end vehicles on the racetrack, as the popular Cars for a Cause fundraiser returned on July 20, in support of the Penticton-based OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.
And based on the bright smiles on display, there’s no doubt what the highlight of the day was.
Kids and parents each got their chance to step inside some of the world’s fastest cars and take a ride around the world-renowned track with Area 27 members.
The excitement began long before anyone was asked to even start their engine.
“We’re so thankful for the drivers that are willing to do this,” said Heather Miller, executive director at the OSNS centre, a place that has specialized in treating developmental challenges across the South Okanagan and Similkameen since 1978. “The kids were so excited and there was this anticipation that you could feel.
“Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Miller says Area 27 has been a great partner to the centre and funds from the event go directly to some of the organization’s most essential services.
The event last commenced in 2019, with more than $100,000 raised in support of the child centre.
Final counts of the funds raised this year are expected to pour in over the coming days.
Members of Area 27 were also eager to donate their time, cars and fuel for the day in helping the event come to life.
“To see the group of little kids excited to participate, get into the cars and then to see the excitement on the face of the members is pretty special,” said Karla Kozakevich, general manager of Area 27. “This doesn’t happen every year, so many people here have been waiting to be back.
“(OSNS) does great things for kids with developmental challenges and their families so it’s important to Area 27 that we help out our community.”
Area 27 members, although on the track often, said Thursday that the OSNS fundraiser is extra special.
“We’re here today to give back to the community,” said Joe Cuzzacrea, a track member. “Seeing the smile on the faces of kids is fantastic because most of them have never been in this environment before.”
The track was designed by Canadian F1 legend Jacques Villeneuve.
Kids were given the opportunity on Thursday to walk around the area and step inside some of their favourite vehicles before getting the “thrill of a lifetime” around the track.
“The excitement and energy from the kids was electric,” said James Rutledge, board member at OSNS. “It’s such a great day and unique event.”