FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Car enthusiasts came out in droves to Salty Sam's Marina on Monday, transforming the expansive parking lot into a vibrant showcase of horsepower and style.
The event, hosted by Parrot Key Restaurant every first and third Monday of the month, drew a diverse crowd eager to absorb the unique atmosphere.
The event is not just about showcasing cars — it's a community affair.
Attendees could not only admire the impressive array of vehicles, but also participate in the competition by entering their cars for a $10 fee, with half of the proceeds going to charity.
"The charity we use here is Kid's Minds Matter, which is a kid's mental health charity," explained Parrot Key Marketing Director, Ryan VanDenabeele. "It's close to the ownership here at Salty Sam's Marina, and then we give away 50% to one lucky show car owner."
The audience had the chance to vote for their favorite vehicle, with the winners receiving trophies and gift certificates for cruises and restaurants. Among the victors was 15-year-old Dylan Minghenelli, who celebrated his first-ever car show win.
"This is my first car, and it has 760 horsepower, which is quite a few, and it's kind of my dream car, so I'm glad to have it," Dylan exclaimed.
Dylan's father, Steve Minghenelli, also a racecar driver, explained the unique reward for his son's achievements.
"Nowadays, I think if your children are as good as my son is, you can reward them with things," Steve said. "He's a straight-A student in school; he helps us with our family business, and it's very well deserved for him."
The event, a part of the community for over a decade, faced a temporary pause last year due to Hurricane Ian. Despite the setbacks, participants like Robert Juve, the first place winner, expressed the event's significance as a means to unwind and connect with like-minded people.
"If you look at my shirt, all those cars were lost in the hurricane," Juve explained.
For those eager to join the excitement, the next car show is scheduled for December 4.