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Autos for Alzheimer’s fundraiser to feature classic cars

By: Gloria Young /Journal Staff Writer
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6th Annual Autos for Alzheimer’s
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 14
Where: Gold Country Fairgrounds, Auburn
Cost: Free for spectators; 
Fee for registering a classic auto: $20 in advance and $25 at the gate
preregister a vehicle:  At Utopia Auto body, 7329 Roseville Road, No.1, Sacramento
Raffle: Raffle tickets (at the show): $20 for a car’s length about 90 tickets, $10 for an arm’s length and $1 per single ticket
Hundreds of classic cars, along with food, beer, wine, music, raffles and vendors are on the program for the 6th Annual Autos for Alzheimer’s Saturday at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. 
The show, which has grown every year since its inception, is a heartfelt remembrance for the Kniesel family. 
“We started this show six years ago when my grandmother (my mom’s mom) entered her final stage of Alzheimer’s, a disease she passed away from last July,” Jennifer Kniesel said in an email. “We decided we wanted to make a difference for this disease that kills more people every year than breast cancer, diabetes and prostate cancer combined. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and, out of the top 10, is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed down. Every 60 seconds, someone new develops the disease (according to the Alzheimer’s disease website).”
Jennifer and her mother, Tracy, came up with the idea for the show after Tracy’s mother was hospitalized after a bad fall.
The first year they held it in the parking lot of the family business, Utopia Auto Body in Sacramento, with about 30 classic cars in attendance. 
The second year, there were 75 cars
“We were almost having to turn people away because we ran out of space,” Jennifer said.
For the third and fourth years, they moved the show to a larger venue, Rusch Park in Citrus Heights. By then, nearly 150 vehicles were participating. 
Last year, they moved it to an even large site — the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.
“People love the venue,” Jennifer said. “They like having the shade and the grass and room to spread out.”
This year, the Kniesels are hoping to attract more than 200 class and vintage automobiles.
“It’s open to vehicles 1975 and older,” she said. “We’ve had cars from as far away as Reno. We have a lot of Grass Valley, Sacramento and the surrounding area.”
Entrance to the show is free for spectators. Classic car entrants pay a fee. 
Barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs will be for sale, along with sodas, beer and wine. In addition to getting up-close to vehicles from the past, attendees can browse vendor booths and enter a raffle to win restaurant gift cards, hats, clothing, signs and sports memorabilia.
A DJ will play hits from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.  
O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, a major sponsor of the show, will provide plaques for the winners in the 18 categories of the car show.
Although Jennifer and Tracy Kniesel don’t own a classic car, the automotive world runs deep.
Beyond the family’s collision repair business, Tracy’s dad, David, was a professional drag racer.
“He still builds racing engines for people all over the world,” Jennifer said.
What she enjoys most about putting on the show is the feeling of contributing to a cause.
“It’s too late to do something for my grandma,” she said. “If we can help someone find a cure for Alzheimer’s some day and prevent future families from experiencing the devastation we felt, it makes it all worth it. It is a really painful thing to go through and I hope one day there is a cure.”