A Tribute to my Dad – Frank Swartz
Melanie Henry, Martin & Company Traffic and Communications Manager
My love of cars started early. I grew up by my dad’s side in the garage and going to car shows and cruise-ins with his 1959 Chevrolet El Camino. In 2011 I was the Clearfield County Fair Queen. As a part of the Fair Queen Program, they held a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. During my reign, I had the opportunity to hold a fundraiser of my choice and naturally, I chose to host a car show.
On the Sunday before Father’s Day, I held my first car show at the Clearfield County Fair Grounds with over 110 registered cars. The event was such a success that I was asked to host another show the following year.
My car show was growing each year. In 2015 I was approached by the Houtzdale Community Partnership Association to host their car show. Since I knew I could successfully hold one car show, I thought I’d take on their show as well. In 2017 I was asked to hold a show for the Madera Fire Company and agreed to that.
A few years later is when I officially named my car shows “Mel’s Car Shows.” A friend was helping me distribute flyers and he was asked, “Hey Turk, whose car show is this?” He answered, “It’s Mel’s Car Show, you know, Frank’s daughter, Mel? It’s her show.” And that is how Mel’s Car Shows was named. In 2019 I moved my car show from the Fair Grounds to the Super 322 Drive-In Theatre. I was asked to hold a show for the Hastings Park and Pool and I added a show of my own in Janesville, PA making a total of five shows for that year. I added yet another show in 2020 for the Glen Hope Community Park and another for the Irvona Fire Company in 2021.
As I entered 2022, I was excited to be celebrating 10 years of Mel’s Car Shows! By that point, I had raised over $125,000 for charities in need. This same year, I wanted to make it extra special. We added another car show for the BBQ Bonanza in Huntingdon, PA, and two cruise-ins; holding in total 10 events to celebrate 10 years.
In this same year, I was named WTAJ’s Remarkable Woman for 2022. In part for my success with holding car shows as fundraisers for the local community. Winning this contest allowed me to receive a check for $1,000.00 to be contributed to a charity of my choice.
As of this year, I have held 38 car shows raising over $189,000 for charities in need. Now shortly into our season, we have surpassed the $200,000 mark raising over $240,000! We added two new shows for the 2023 season for the Altoona Railroaders Museum and the Moshannon Valley High School Class of 2025. This contribution does not include the gifts-in-kind that have been donated to Jameson’s Wish which amounts to over 2,500 toys!
As for the future of Mel’s Car Shows, I look forward to growing and expanding the area I cover for car shows. These past years have been a learning experience. I learn something at each show to make the next one even better.