The car show hosted by the Shrine Club at the Stars and Stripes over Cartersville celebration at Dellinger Park on Independence Day will feature a sea of classic cars of varying makes, models and colors. And as families check out the show, which draws in hundreds of cars, the Shriners seize the opportunity to not only help celebrate one of the most patriotic holidays, but also connect with the community.
“It’s just a great time for everybody,” said Randy Wilson, who organizes the car show for the Cartersville Shrine Club.
Among the sea of cars and throngs of people gathering for the Stars and Stripes over Cartersville day of events, the Shriners will mingle, readily identifiable by their headgear and donation buckets.
But who are the Shriners and what do they do?
“It’s about helping kids daily,” said Larry Cline, of Cartersville, who serves on the divan, or board of directors, for the metro Atlanta Shrine Temple.
Shriners are a staple in the community, instantly recognizable by their tasseled hats, but Cline said surprisingly few people actually know who Shriners are and what they do in the community.
The Shrine Club, an international organization, started in New York City in 1870 by the Masonry, the world’s oldest fraternal organization.
According to Cline, the Shrine Club was started to allow its members to fellowship with each other and serve the community.
The major philanthropic cause for the Shrine Club is its 22 hospitals across the country.
“It’s about helping kids daily,” said Cline, who has been a member for 30 years.
Through fundraisers and donations Shriners are able to fully fund the hospitals which treat children who are handicapped or burned.
Cline said although the organization has been around for decades there are a few misconceptions, none bigger than the quality of the care the Shrine Hospitals provide.
“Our biggest misconception that we hear is if it’s free it can’t be good,” Cline said. “That’s simply not true.”
Cline said part of the reason the club participates in the Stars and Stripes over Cartersville celebration is to help raise awareness.
“We just want people to spread the word about what Shriners do,” Cline said. “The main thing we want people in the community to know is we have 22 hospitals and we need patients.”