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Annual car show premier event: Toppers celebrating 50 years

Fifty years can sometimes pass way too rapidly, and nobody is more aware of this than members of the Fargo-Moorhead Toppers Car Club who are having a fantastic time finalizing last minute details of their 50th anniversary show, set for Saturday, April 5, and Sunday, April 6, at the Veterans Memorial Arena, located adjacent to West Fargo High School at 1201 7th Ave. E.

Show chairperson Al Duval, who has been associated with the Club since 1973, says this year's grand event promises to equal all of the other great ones through the decades, with just a little bit different twist - member's cars will not be a part of this year's showing and there will only be three trophies given away, in contrast to the multitudes in year's prior. In lieu of the trophies, all entries with vehicle displays will be receiving a complimentary 50th anniversary Toppers car show jacket.

"One of the neatest things is that this year will be a non-competition event, so you will be seeing interest from a lot of individuals with unique entries who otherwise might not display their cars," Duval explained. "We will only be awarding three trophies, one for people's choice, one for best club display and the other for best individual display."

Further commemorating the five decades, the Club is bringing back cars that were in the show several years ago that were either sweepstakes or peoples choice winners, as well as a car that was featured in the very first Toppers show.

The 2008 gathering is definitely certain to live up to expectations of the 10,000-plus visitors expected to attend, with approximately 130 different vehicles on display, along with over 100 automotive vendors previewing their latest parts, products and materials.

The Arena has been home to the show for the past several years and Topper members wouldn't have it any other way. "We always feel so welcome," Duval stated. "Jamie (Olson, manager) does everything in his power to make sure we are happy. He really does make the difference, and his entire staff is always there for us whenever we need them."

Included in this year's showing will be a wide variety of vehicles, including street and hot rods, muscle cars, restored originals, motorcycles, and several others. Since there will not be a specific Topper Club display this year, the traditional show T-shirt will feature a car popular from the 50s.

Music will also be a part of the fun, with the Front Fenders performing both days. The trophy presentation for the three awards is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The show is coordinated by Topper Car Club members as their major event. A portion of the proceeds is always distributed to a number of charitable causes, with favorites including the D.A.R.E. program, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross.

The history of the Club dates back to 1953, when the organization was founded by Erlyn Carlson, with the intent of promoting a family-based enthusiasm for cars. Present membership sits at 15, with their primary role still committed to that same passion and enthusiasm for vehicles.

Tickets for the 50th annual Toppers Car Show will be available at the door both days of the event. They are also available in advance at all local Stop-N-Go stores through Friday only. Cost is $6 in advance and $8 at the door. Children under 10 years of age will be admitted free, when accompanied by an adult. Topper Car Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Anyone with questions concerning the show can direct them to Duval at 238-3834.