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Staying Clean car show to continue

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Schools Staying Clean Car, Bike and Truck Show Festival will continue as planned at the Ohio Valley Mall, with precautions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato, who has spearheaded the event along with the Classy Chassis Car Club, decided to forge ahead following a committee meeting Tuesday.

“The Staying Clean Car-Bike Show Festival is going forward,” Fregiato said of the event planned for Saturday, Sept. 12.

“We do have the issue this year of the coronavirus. What we’ve decided after a lengthy discussion, it was unanimous that the car show shall go forward,” Fregiato said. He added the committee has taken risk factors into account.

“It is an outside festival, so that helps out considerably,” he said. “There will be 6 feet spacing automatically as there is every year, because the cars (have) got to be separated.”

Fregiato said there will be a limited number of masks available to be distributed as people arrive at the festival.

“The individuals can use them or not use them, depending on their personal choice,” Fregiato said.

He said discussion also touched on safety precautions for possible infection sites, such as portable toilets and trophies. Sanitation and safety practices around restaurants were also taken into account.

“As everyone comes in, they are going to be notified they have the right to wear a mask,” Fregiato said.

Fregiato said he and the other organizers could not speculate on what attendance of the event might look like. Prior events have drawn more than 200 participants.

The virus outbreak may be discouraging to older car show enthusiasts who are in a vulnerable demographic, but the lack of other car shows may draw more people, Fregiato said.

“There could be less people because of the virus itself, but there could be more people because the other car shows have discontinued for this year at least,” Fregiato said. “It could be actually an increase. We don’t know.”

For several years, the car show has been an active fundraiser for a drug preventiion program aimed at the area’s youth.

“We take those funds and so inundate our grade school children that when they reach … eighth grade, freshman, high school … there’s no drug decision to be made. We’ve been very successful with that program and with the community,” he said.

David Carter, representing the probate and juvenile court, made a presentation about the program’s results in Belmont County’s schools and among fourth graders, where outreach was most recently extended.

“That has been very successful,” Fregiato said.

He added he has heard many positive responses from the community.

“We are excited. The community is excited. Everyone seems very excited about this event going forward, and we’re prepared to work it,” Fregiato said.

The car show has grown in scope and attendance over the years. He said the organizers are grateful to the many generous sponsors and donors who continue to support the effort. Prior shows have raised more than $40,000, with the shows raising more than $100,000 in the past four years. They’ve already raised $35,300 so far this year.

“That’s thus far this year, that’s with the show not even taking place, so we are very pleased, very proud of what we’ve undertaken,” Fregiato said.

“We are very proud that we are going forward and working to continue to support the youth of Belmont County.”

Anyone wishing to support the drug-free project can make a check out to Friends of Juvenile Court and send it to the Belmont County Clerk of Courts Cynthia Fregiato at 67022 Almar Lane, St. Clairsville.

For more information, call Classy Chassis Car Club members at 440-371-5580, 724-858-6909, 740-391-0342, and Fregiato at 740-695-5470.

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