May 28, 2019 6:12 pm

Fleetwood Country Cruize-In car show, fundraiser to end after 15 years

FILE - This year's edition of the event runs Friday through Sunday.

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The long-running vintage car show and fundraising event Fleetwood Country Cruize-In will come to an end after its 2019 year.

Philanthropist and event founder Steve Plunkett says after 15 years, he’s throwing in the towel.

“As fun as it is, and the number of friends that I’ve made… it’s exhausting,” Plunkett said Tuesday on 980 CFPL’s London Live with Mike Stubbs. “It’s two months full-time putting it together, both [in the] office and physically.”

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What began as a 60-vehicle gathering at the Elviage Drive property has grown over the years into a major three-day production that includes charity groups, live entertainment, vendors, and some 3,000 vehicles on display, nearly 100 of which are Plunkett’s.

This year’s edition of the event begins on Friday and runs until Sunday, with entertainment from Tony Orlando, Mitch Ryder, Paul Revere’s Raiders, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

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The decision to end the event wasn’t a decision made overnight, Plunkett says, adding it’s something he’s been mulling over the last several years.

“I put it off, and then I do it again,” he said. “My weakness is some people saying how much they’ve enjoyed it… and that encourages me to continue on and do it again. I think it’s time to let it go.”

“And a lot of money. A lot of dough goes out to putting it together.”

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The event at the Plunkett Estate has also brought in a lot of dough for local causes — nearly $2 million as of the latest estimate, Plunkett says.

That’s in addition to funds raised by the separate Plunkett Foundation, amounting to $5 million for agencies including Lawson Health Research Institute, Ivey Eye Institute, and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Plunkett said.

“It’s been very gratifiying. It’s like continuing my dad’s work but in all areas of medicine, basically,” Plunkett said, referring to his father, former University Hospital chief of gynecology, Earl Plunkett, the foundation’s namesake.

“He was the guy who brought in vitro fertilization to Canada. In the early days of that technology, his department at UH had more successes than any other department in North America,” Plunkett said. “He was amongst the group of doctors that, basically, researched the formula for the birth control pill as well.

“London is a hotbed with so much medical talent and we don’t toot our own horns about that.”

More information on this year’s event can be found here.

WATCH: (April 19, 2019) Draggins turn wrenches to restore classic car up for raffle

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