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Ottawa resident De Warner said he restored and repainted the "Spidervette" with his five teenage kids, so they could have a father-kid project. He said he hadn't created a show car before. "They helped. We learned on YouTube," said Warner, who was dressed as Spidey at the Illinois Valley Rodders car show/Peru CSO picnic Sunday at Centennial Park, Peru. NewsTribune photos/Craig Sterrett
A combined effort to have a more family-friendly annual event that's more family-friendly and including more entertainment for all ages drew bigger-than-expected crowds Sunday.
Peru Citizens Service Organization, which for years has had a tradition of putting on a men's picnic with beer, poker and mulligan stew, had a family-friendly picnic this year featuring food, children's games, a bean-bag-toss competition, and on Sunday, the CSO moved its event to Centennial Park.
The CSO combined its picnic with the Illinois Valley Rodders' annual car show, which resulted in more cars than usual entered in the group and more people showing up for lunch than the CSO was prepared to feed. Rodders members said the CSO ran out of food at one point, bought more and brought an extra grill. A long line of people was lined up for burgers and hot dogs served by the CSO for at least two hours.
"It's going pretty well. We've had a long line like this since 11," CSO member Jack Landgraf said. "I can't tell you how many people we've served."
Children played many different games and bounced through an inflated obstacle course.
In the middle of the park, Illinois Valley Rodders had attracted 120 cars to the show, not including 18 cars brought by members of the club. The club usually gives a donation to the CSO, and this year simply combined efforts with the CSO, which provides services to the community such as the fireworks display (set for Labor Day weekend this year) and putting up Christmas lights.
"This is great!" said Rodders member and retired automotive instructor Frank Pope, motioning to the people and cars all over the park. "Look at this."
Club member Don Klein said if he has any say, the Rodders and CSO will work together to put on the event again. "We've never had so many people here," he said.
And, Pope added: "It's going to grow."
Rodders club members said they had cars from as far away as Moline and Geneseo, and several cars they hadn't seen before, such as a hot-rod, mid-engine dump truck with license plates, "Chik magnt".
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