A downtown Chandler barber who died in 2007 was remembered Saturday at the fifth annual Historic Downtown Chandler Classic Car and Hot Rod Show. The late Jerry Biondi started the show five years ago with Maury Williamson of Gilbert, his business partner at the Country Clipper Barber Shop.
The car show was started as a way to give back to the Chandler community, Williamson said Saturday.
After Historic Downtown Chandler lost the annual ostrich festival, Biondi knew he wanted to do something to give back to the downtown area, Williamson said. Biondi's passion was classic cars, so starting a classic car and hot rod show only seemed fitting.
In the five years that the car show has been running, registration has grown from 50 cars to the 251 cars that participated on Saturday.
After Biondi died last spring, Williamson knew he had to keep the car show alive in his friend's honor.
"My buddy Jerry was a big-hearted guy who liked to keep things simple and wanted to give back to the community," Williamson said. "You could be with Jerry for 20 minutes and you felt like you knew him for a lifetime."
This event provides the opportunity for the community to really connect, Williamson added.
Biondi's beloved 1923 Red Ford T-Bucket hot rod was featured at the show Saturday parked outside his barbershop along with a memorial in his honor.
Williamson led this year's event.
He said the free event will continue as long as people are still interested and coming. While the event has now expanded to both sides of Arizona Avenue, Williamson said it is important to keep it a quaint and simple family-friendly event.
All proceeds from the car show will be donated to My Sister's Place, a Catholic-run domestic abuse shelter in Chandler.
"Charities are only budgeted a certain amount of money," Williamson said. "Sometimes the amount they are given is not enough, so this show allows for us to donate money and provide My Sister's Place with something their budget may not allow for."
Last year, he said more than $30,000 was raised for My Sister's Place.
Mick Gillam of Chandler said he has enjoyed watching the show grow.
"You see everything here from the Rolls Royce club to the Ford Flatheads," he said. "Everyone comes together and gets along."