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Green Bay – Since the Green Bay Auto Show and Event Center opened in 2016, visitors have been able to see rare, collectible cars up close.
Founded by the late William “Reed” Lewis, the gallery—which celebrates seven years in business—features more than 100 vehicles, with more available to rotate.
Located in the former Denil Cadillac Historic Dealership (1958-1997), the gallery’s mission is to share knowledge and appreciation for the form and function of the automobile – past, present and future.
CEO Daryl Burnett said many of the cars came from a private collection or were donated to the auto show.
Burnett said a love of cars can bring people together.
“Last year, we’ve had representation of all 50 states and other countries around the world,” he said. “I find these individuals wonderful. The car show may not have been the reason they came to this area in the first place, but they figured it out and they are a car enthusiast. This is the universal language that I love. Someone from England or Poland has the same passion as someone From Green Bay Motors.
Burnett, now in his third year as CEO, said the show is driven by five key principles:
• To provide a state-of-the-art facility where “the car is art”, providing the opportunity to showcase a wide range of automotive excellence.
• Enhance the general public’s knowledge of the engineering, design, development, construction and history of the cars on display.
• Promote the restoration, maintenance and appreciation of the contribution of cars to society.
• Share their passion for cars with others by opening their doors to the community.
• Providing an atmosphere for private and public events where automotive art creates memories that will last a lifetime.
Burnett, like most nonprofits, said the auto show had a spurt of speed in 2020.
He said the fair recovered well in 2021 with more than 10,000 visitors.
Burnett said part of the success of 2021 stems from the annual Auto Show “Cars and Guitars,” which returned in June and broke the previous record.
“We had about 400 cars last year,” Burnett said. “We’ve introduced new technologies and screens. We’ve brought in a kids’ zone. We’re looking to build on that this year, so we’re really excited. We’re blocking Washington Street. We’ve got a high-profile orchestra. We’ve got food vendors, and of course we’ve got cars lining the streets and parking.” for cars.Then for $5 you can enter the show that day… Last year we had a whole line of classic cars, as well as modern cars. We are not exclusionary in that sense.”
The 5th Annual Auto & Guitar Show will be held June 18 at the 400 S. Adams St. Auto Show and Event Center.
The launch this spring, Burnett said, is a new program called “Cares for the Community” — a chance for car enthusiasts to share their prized car with the public and help a local charity in the process.
“A group of local executives have come together with me and, for the first time ever, members of the community will be displaying their cars here in an ongoing effort with everything to benefit local charities,” he said. “It’s a line of communication between individuals who typically don’t display their cars or keep them in a private collection.”
Burnett said the gallery will host shows in six to eight weeks.
“We’re inviting everyone to be a part of this, because we’re going to have small events, big events, and unique events that will raise money,” he said. “It is a great opportunity to make the Auto Show a crossroads to help our great local charities and at the same time bring everyone together under the banner of ‘Caring for the Community’. It is one of the most rewarding initiatives I have taken in my career, and I owe it all to the other individuals involved in this project.”
As Burnett looks to the future of the gallery’s place in the community, he said it takes a special team to make the gallery what it is.
“I always say this,” he said, “The auto show wasn’t the culmination of a Red Lewis dream, it was the beginning of his dream.” “He wanted this for the community, he wanted it to grow, and he wanted it to stay here for generations. We have an excellent board of directors. We have an incredible team. We have 110 volunteers who come in and make the show what it is. Every vehicle you see here is working and driving. This requires a lot of work. This is a very powerful organization, and we couldn’t do it without these volunteers.”