The Al Millard Memorial Stocking Full of Love is in its 30th year of providing Christmas gifts for needy children in Walker County.

The nonprofit organization is kicking off the season with two fundraising events: A ’50s Sock Hop Dance on Sunday, Sept. 1, and a car show on Monday, Sept. 2, both at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring.

Walker County Sheriff’s Deputy Bruce Coker, who has been coordinating the events for 11 years, says there will be awards given out at both events.

At the Sock Hop, which will feature Paul Smith and the Sky High Band, there will be an award for the best ’50s dance, as well as for the best ’50s outfit. There will also be a hula hoop contest. And, says Coker, “The twist is always a blast. We usually have some people who make a good show of it.”

Coker says the Sock Hop was started as a fundraiser by Dick Dengler and Tommy Jett shortly after the car show began in 1989. “Dick thought Tommy would be a great person to be involved and he was. His antics as a radio personality always brightened everything up.”

The cost to attend the Sock Hop is $5 per person. Children age 5 and under can attend at no cost.

At the annual Labor Day Car and Motorcycle Show on Sept. 2, attendees will get to see the No. 8 Budweiser car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove for some time. There will be many opportunities for those who enter to win awards, including for best of show, engine, paint, interior, Ford, GM, Mopar, out of production, foreign, club participation and motorcycle.

The cost to enter the show is $20 per vehicle. Registration is the morning of the show at the Walker County Civic Center from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There is also space available for vendors (no food vendors) at $25 per space. For more information or to register early, call 423-718-7651.

All proceeds from both events go to provide Christmas gifts for Walker County children. “We’ve had some surprise donations at the car show in the past,” says Coker. “One year, Modern Woodmen of American came and donated $2,500. There have been others, too.”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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