UAW-GM Summerfest aims to bring in families with June dates

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By Shaun Byron |

FLINT, MI – General Motors Co. and United Auto Workers union officials have given a facelift to a former annual event to increase family attendance and community involvement.

The first UAW-GM Summerfest will be held June 15 and 16 at the Union City Ball Field in Flint. It is replacing the Flint Metal Center’s New Vehicle Show, which was held in September. The event is free to the public.

“We weren’t attracting the families as much as Summerfest should,” local GM Spokesman Tom Wickham said.

Last year’s New Vehicle Show was dealt a blow by Mother Nature, with rain and cold temperatures, he said.

Attendance also fluctuated during the seven years the New Vehicle Show was held, with sometimes 1,000 to several thousands of people taking part, Wickham said.

“Initially the event worked really well, but you are at the whim of the weather,” he said. “And when you are doing something when school has returned you are limiting your reach.”

Summerfest will include the traditional GM ride event and classic car show. There will also be interactive children’s games and new automotive-themed exhibits.

The GM ride vent allows people to drive new cars without the pressure of trying to decide if they want to make a purchase, Wickham said.

Two pieces of automotive art will also be on display. One piece is airbrush artist Mickey Harris’ Sept. 11 tribute, the First Responder Chevrolet Silverado. Harris decorated a Flint-built truck with faces and images from the terrorist attacks.

He will be painting a hood, which will then be auctioned off later in the year to benefit the United Way of Genesee County.

The other piece is the Custom Built for Babies Motorcycle by reality television star Paul Teutul Jr. from “American Chopper.” The bike was commissioned for a raffle to benefit the March of Dimes.

Sponsors of the festival include Applegate, Al Serra and Patsy Lou Williamson automotive dealerships, Financial Plus Federal Credit Union, and HealthPlus of Michigan.

There will also be several organizations with information about their services and people selling crafts.

“We’re positioning ourselves to be an annual event to give people something to do during the early days of summer,” Wickham said.

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