This 1900 McLaughlin (Buick) buggy will be among the items on display during the Wings and Wheels event on Aug. 15 and 16 at Tradex in Abbotsford. (Submitted photo)

Wings and Wheels drive-thru fundraiser supports Crystal Gala Foundation

Event on Aug. 15 and 16 at Tradex to feature more than 300 planes and vehicles

A large event takes place next month in Abbotsford in support of an organization that has raised more than $3 million in 21 years for breast health and equipment.

Wings and Wheels, billed as the “largest indoor drive-thru spectacular in North America,” runs Aug. 15 and 16 at the Tradex Trade and Exhibition Centre – adjacent to Abbotsford Airport – in support of the Crystal Gala Foundation.

The event is being held by 360 Fabrication in response to the cancellation of this year’s Crystal Gala – an extravagant dinner and dance that sells out every year – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rick Francoeur, 360 Fabrication president, said the business has committed $100,000 to the Crystal Gala Foundation – their charity of choice – over 10 years in their fight against breast cancer.

The company held Canada’s first indoor drive-thru car show on Father’s Day in June at the PNE in Vancouver, and the event was so successful that Francoeur and brother Daryl decided they could do something similar in Abbotsford.

They didn’t have much time to organize it, but Francoeur said their “car wrangler,” Steve Williams, did a phenomenal job in pulling together a range of vehicles – about 300 in total – to be displayed at Wings and Wheels.

Among those being showcased in over 120,000 square feet of space at Tradex will be vintage buses, military vehicles, tractors, hot rods, exotic cars, vintage planes, classic cars and more.

Several food trucks will also be on site.

“We needed this to be more than just a car show. There’s a little bit of something for everyone,” Francoeur said.

He said this will be a nationally sanctioned judged event, with more than 70 trophies slated to be handed out. Among the esteemed judges will be Nigel Matthews of Hagerty Insurance, who has been a chief judge at car shows around the world.

Guests pay $20 per vehicle to drive through the venue and view the cars on display. Francoeur said the goal is to have 5,000 tickets sold over the two days and raise $100,000.

All the money is being donated to the Crystal Gala Foundation, which supports the purchase and use of leading-edge equipment and technology throughout the breast health centre and screening mammography/ultrasound centre at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (ARHCC).

“As a local business, we know how important the work this organization does for those facing this horrible disease … We wanted to come up with a fun event that could continue to raise much-needed money for this cause,” Francoeur said.

He described Wings and Wheels “like no car show ever before.”

Crystal Gala chair Gerri Charles emphasized that the foundation has zero overhead, so every dollar raised goes directly back into the community to purchase much-needed equipment and to fund initiatives.

She said the foundation is grateful for the support the Crystal Gala has received over the years, particularly during this challenging time.

“In a year where we believed we would not be able to make our planned gifts due to the difficulties created by COVID-19, this event is absolutely incredible and we at the foundation are so grateful to 360 Fabrication for their commitment to assisting with this cause, and to all the businesses who are jumping on board to contribute and participate, as well as the individuals who are displaying their planes and vehicles in support of this incredible cause,” she said.

The Crystal Gala Foundation was founded in 1999 by Tammy Preast and Charles with a goal of enhancing care and treatment for breast cancer patients in the region, which spans from Surrey to Hope.

Its main source of funds is the annual Crystal Gala, which last year raised $315,000. In 2019, the foundation purchased a $60,000 Neoprobe – used to stage cancer in breast cancer patients – and paid the remaining $362,000 for a new diagnostic mammography unit which should be delivered to ARHCC later this year.

Plans are underway to host the 22nd annual Crystal Gala in October 2021, with Summit Brooke Construction as the title sponsor – a $20,000 commitment.

Company owner Jon Brandt said they began supporting the foundation about five years ago because of the good work they have been doing in the community.

And because Summit Brooke Construction is based in Abbotsford, they like to give on a local level.

“(The Crystal Gala Foundation) is volunteer-driven, and there’s effectively no overhead so the money that you do donate gets fully given to the fundraising efforts. So that’s one of the things I appreciate about the organization and the actual event,” Brandt said.

Wings and Wheels runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Anyone wishing to display their vehicle or airplane can enter with a $20 donation and receive a commemorative T-shirt. For more information, visit 360Fabrication.com or call 604-859-3608.

Visit fvtradex.com to purchase tickets for the event. For more information about the Crystal Gala Foundation, visit crystalgala.ca.

WHERE THE MONEY GOES

Since its inception in 1991, the Crystal Gala Foundation has raised more than $3 million. This is where the money has gone:

• 1999-2004 – donation to Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and purchases of equipment in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission hospitals

• 2007 – $500,000 committed to the Campaign for Healthcare Excellence for Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre (ARHCC)

• 2010 – $500,000 donated to acquire the naming rights to the Breast Health and Screening Mammography Unit. The Crystal Gala Breast Health Unit is located on the second floor of the hospital.

• 2013 – $130,000.00 donation for an ultrasound machine for the ARHCC screening mammography unit

• 2015 – $500,000 committed to provide medical equipment and furnishings at the Abbotsford Breast Health Centre on the main floor the hospital

* 2018 – $26,000 for a PACs station for ARHCC and $362,500 towards a digital mammography machine

• 2019 – purchase of $60,000 Neoprobe and the remaining $362,000 for the diagnostic mammography unit at ARHCC

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This US Army Humvee is among the vehicles that will be on display at the Wings and Wheels event on Aug. 15 and 16 at Tradex in Abbotsford. (Submitted photo)

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