Antique cars, gumbo and surfing: Three good reasons to get outside in March

By Nick Fortuna

The middle of March typically is a great time to be outside in the Southeast, with pleasant spring weather and a wide variety of events for the whole family.

Two such events happen to take place in Stuart, Fla. – the 24th annual Classics at the Beach Car Show and the 12th annual Single Fin Showdown surf contest. The tastiest event occurs a bit farther west, with the eighth annual Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators Gumbo Cook-Off in Shreveport, La.

Here’s a brief rundown of each event:

Classics at the Beach

Self-described car nuts throughout the Southeast will want to attend this car show at the Elliott Museum on Hutchinson Island on Saturday, March 21. There will be almost 100 antique, classic, rare or exotic vehicles on display, including the museum’s 1912 Ford Model T Speedster.

Sponsored by McKee’s 37, the car show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is a fundraiser for the Elliott Museum, which is operated by the Historical Society of Martin County and celebrates the region’s history.

Attendees won’t want to miss the meet-and-greet and Q&A session with Wayne Carini, who restores classic cars from all eras on his television series, “Chasing Classic Cars.” In addition, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits will be hosting The Racers Group, one of the top professional sports-car racing teams in North America, and their cars will be on display. Wine lovers can sample assorted varieties.   

“What makes this car show stand out from the others is the number of high-end cars that will be on display, and it is a judged show,” said museum car curator John Giltinan. “Plus, we have notable judges who evaluate the cars and select the award winners for the red-carpet award ceremony.”

Admission, which includes access to the car show and the museum, is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $6 for children ages 6 to 12. Active-duty and veteran service members and kids under 6 get in free. Guests can vote for their favorite cars to receive the People’s Choice Award and bid on silent-auction items. Food trucks will be on hand.

There will be a special benefit reception for the museum on Friday, March 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the showroom of the Maserati & Alfa Romeo dealership in Stuart. It’s a chance to mingle with car-show exhibitors and auto enthusiasts while enjoying live music, dancing, an open bar and appetizers. The cost is $60 per person; call 772-225-1961 or email RSVP@elliottmuseum.org.

Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators

Want to fill your belly with tasty, stick-to-your-ribs food while helping a good cause? Attend this gumbo cook-off, the largest fundraiser of the year for Volunteers for Youth Justice. The organization annually recruits, trains and supports hundreds of volunteers to provide services for children at risk in northern Louisiana.

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport on March 21. Admission is free, and samples of gumbo cost $2 each. There will be 42 teams from Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas cooking 56 pots of gumbo and competing for the trophy awarded for the tastiest recipe.

“Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators is a great family-friendly event,” said Kelli Todd, the nonprofit’s executive director. “It is a very fun way to support a great organization.”

New this year is an after-party from 4 to 7 p.m. where one dollar will be donated to Volunteers for Youth Justice for every pint of beer sold.    

“It will allow our day of fun to continue a little longer,” said Amie Baham, the organization’s development director.

For more information, visit www.gumbogladiators.com.   

Single Fin Showdown

Get up early to catch surfers from all over Florida and the United States compete for prizes at Stuart Public Beach on Saturday, March 14. The action starts at 8 a.m.

The event is organized by Ohana Surf Shop to benefit former employee Brooke Thabit, an avid surfer and diver who was paralyzed in 2012 when she dove off a dock into shallow water, fracturing her neck. After emergency surgery and years of physical rehabilitation, she has regained limited sensation and movement in her lower extremities. Proceeds fund her treatment.

The event is family-friendly and features live music and raffle prizes.

“We are so blessed to be able to have the support of the local community to continue to raise much-needed funds for an amazing human, Brooke Thabit, all while enjoying a fun day at the beach,” said  Jordan Schwartz, owner of Ohana Surf Shop.