The Car Show & Chili Cook-off is the largest single day fundraiser held by the Optimist Club. It was started in the early 1980’s and has been held every year since in Sylvan Park in Redlands. The event features hundreds of classic and antique cars on display, with contests in a number of divisions, and raffle opportunities for the attendants.
There is also a chili cook-off competition, with up to a dozen chefs offering their prize entries for tasting and voting by the audience. Multiple vendors are on hand providing crafts, specialty foods, and beverages, including many brands of beer and wine.
Two bands take turns playing throughout the day, As with all of our events, 100% of the proceeds goes to support the eight youth activities the club puts on each year, and also to help fund the many scholarships the club awards each year to students in the area. The event is customarily held near the end of May.
For many years the Redlands Optimists have operated a concession stand at the Redlands Bowl from 6:00 to 9:30 PM during their summer season of presentations to the community. We sell candy, popcorn, sodas, coffee, hot chocolate, and hot dogs to those attending the presentations, and share the revenues with the Redlands Community Music Association. All of our profits go towards funding our youth projects in the community.
In 2005 we constructed a small concession stand building on the site at our own expense built in the exact style of the famous Gables building immediately adjacent to it. Six to eight Optimist members volunteer their time selling concessions before and during the 19 summer events.
Redlands Optimist President Jim Moffat (left) presents a check for $10,000 to Redlands Community Music Association (RCMA) Program Chair Marsha Gebara at the club’s weekly meeting. Also shown is Optimist member Paul Barich, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the RCMA
Recently, the Redlands Optimist Club created its own version of the classic German Oktoberfest Festival, held in early October at Sylvan Park. Continuous music is provided by a German band, and there are games and contests for participants throughout the day. A children’s area is set aside in the park where a climbing wall and a bouncing house are available.
Budweiser is the major sponsor for the event, and offers a selection of German beers from Munich in addition to its own popular brands. Local brewers will be offering various craft beers, and State Street Winery offers six of its popular wines for sale by the glass. There is plenty of food available from vendors in food trucks, including authentic German bratwurst provided by Gallozzo’s German Deli. This is a one day event run entirely by Optimist volunteers, and 100% of the proceeds goes to support area youth activities.