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A competition for not-so-hot rods

Schenectady Kiwanis Club’s Ugly Car contest fundraiser returns

Last year’s winner for the ugliest car at the inaugural Kiwanis Club of Schenectady’s Ugly Car Show contest was a 1973 Volkswagen Thing, owned by Michael Jones. This year’s contest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, in downtown Schenectady.

Last year’s winner for the ugliest car at the inaugural Kiwanis Club of Schenectady’s Ugly Car Show contest was a 1973 Volkswagen Thing, owned by Michael Jones. This year’s contest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, in downtown Schenectady.

— Car shows usually attract finely tuned, meticulously maintained vehicles, but a local fundraiser is breaking that mold.

“Nothing would please me more than to see a car held together with duct tape,” Heather Peterson said.

The Kiwanis Club of Schenectady is holding its second Ugly Car Contest on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the parking lot at the corner of Liberty Street and Nott Terrace in Schenectady. The event is presented by Collision Experts and the Schenectady Kiwanis is hosting it in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The event welcomes more than ugly cars, with a series of contest categories for all types of car enthusiasts. There are categories for motorcycles.

“It is a bit silly and it’s fun and it’s different,” said Peterson, who is chairwoman of the event. “What we found last year was it was a relaxed car show. People just had fun with it and it wasn’t high pressure.”

The club’s president, Douglas McPhee, came up with the idea after his former California club had done an ugly dog competition. The fundraiser is noticeably different from the club’s usual events.

“(McPhee) said, ‘Why don’t we hang up our golf clubs … and lets have an ugly car competition,” Peterson said. “We thought it was a riot and we did it.”

The event is free for spectators and will feature craft and food vendors, raffles, a live DJ spinning tunes and a Frank Sinatra Tribute show performed by local singer and Kiwanian Joe Kriss.

The Schenectady Fire Department will bring its smokehouse fire safety education vehicle. The interactive exhibit will have kids running through a fire simulation to learn proper safety procedures.

Cafe Nola is offering food at this year’s event, providing some Cajun eats alongside other vendors, who will have fried dough, pizza, ice cream and other fair-type staples.

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