Two Longmeadow High School students are showing the community that all it takes is an idea and an important cause to make a difference. Sophomore Wesley Breed is the founder of Cars of Longmeadow, a car show that seeks to fundraise for the Lupus Research Alliance. Longmeadow High School Senior Max Loyuk co-founded the event, which hosted its first show in 2018 at the school.
For 2019, Breed and Loyuk will host the car show at Longmeadow Shops, located at 690 Bliss Road in Longmeadow. Go Local met with Breed to discuss Cars of Longmeadow’s beginnings and to find out what attendees could expect in 2019.
“I’ve had a ginormous love for cars ever since I was a little kid. I would go to car shows with my dad and one of my main complaints was that there were no car shows around here. I said, ‘You know what? Maybe I should start one.’ That was years and years back. I had no motive and no means of getting started,” Breed shared.
While the idea didn’t come to fruition until later in Breed’s life, he never stopped dreaming it up. It was when his family was faced with a difficult circumstance that Breed decided to start the Cars of Longmeadow show. “Come August of 2017, my little sister Claudia was diagnosed with lupus. It’s a severe autoimmune disease. That was a big hit to my family. This was something that was completely unexpected. I wanted to give back to the lupus community, so I thought, ‘why don’t I combine my love for cars with an awesome cause, the Lupus Research Alliance and create a car show in Longmeadow?’ A lot of people around here really love cars as much as me,” Breed said.
With an idea in place, Breed set out to plan the first Cars of Longmeadow Car Show.
“I went and I talked to people at my high school and was like, ‘alright, I need a public lot that has a lot of space and flexibility.’ They were down with it and I had a very successful event last year,” Breed shared.
The 2018 car show brought out over 110 cars and raised over $8,000 for the Lupus Research Alliance.
“That was just incredible. It was really amazing. I felt so inspired, so Max and I agreed that we had to put this on every year,” Breed said.
Following the 2018 show, Melissa Pevay, marketing manager of Longmeadow Shops reached out to Breed about hosting the show at Longmeadow Shops.
“Here we are now, looking at year two, right here at the Longmeadow Shops,” Breed said.
“We reached out to them. They hung posters all around the Longmeadow Shops last year. When I reached out, I had assumed adults had put this event on. It blew me away. I was amazed when Wes reached out to me and I realized he wasn’t old enough to drive. It’s tough to find kids these days that will spend their free time and Longmeadow High School has a pretty rigorous program over there. It’s pretty incredible that they put this together. It’s super cool that one is old enough to drive and one’s not and they put together this awesome car show,” Pevay commented.
As much as Breed enjoys cars, he said his biggest goal with the show is to fundraise for the Lupus Research Alliance. “My biggest aim is to raise as much money for the Lupus Research Alliance as possible. All of the fees related to the car show, like the vehicle registration fee, all goes directly to the charity,” Breed said.
The Lupus Research Alliance created the registration webpage for the Cars of Longmeadow show, which means each time someone submits a donation online, it goes straight to the foundation.
While gathering a group of cool cars can be a challenge, Breed said his own Instagram account has been helpful. “I go to a lot of car shows. I run an Instagram page and put all of my car photos on there that I take and edit on my computer. Through that and through my passion to go out to car shows, I make a lot of connections with others throughout the scene. And through that, I’ve built a portfolio,” Breed shared.
Breed continued, “It’s really through Instagram that I meet people. I send them a direct message and I’m like, ‘hey, I know you own this amazing car. We have a charity car show going on in July in Longmeadow. All proceeds go to the Lupus Research Alliance.’ And for the most part, if they see that it’s a charity show, they usually say, ‘wow, this is a passionate kid doing something he loves, I’ll be there.’ That’s kind of how word of mouth spreads.”
With the success of the 2018 Cars of Longmeadow show, Breed said he is expecting more car registrations for 2019. When Go Local met with Breed at the beginning of May, he said that planning was already ahead of schedule. “I’m expecting that we will have more cars this year. At this time in planning last year, we had zero registrations, but I already have 14. So we are ahead of schedule,” Breed shared.
Breed explained that the 2018 show brought several last minute registrations. “We had more than 20 people register the night before last year. Cars can register the day of the show as well and I’m hoping to have friends helping people register the day of,” Breed said.
As Breed nears his junior year of high school, he shared that he hopes to continue the car show into college. “I want to make sure that I can still at least contribute to this event even after I leave for college. I’ll probably be back home for the summer. This is probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever been able to put together, so I want to keep running it because it’s just really fun. Seeing all of these people that I know from this town that I’ve see around come together for this car show that I started is really fun,” Breed said.
Breed said he would like to see the community come together for the event. “It’s a fun event with an amazing cause behind it. It’s something that everyone can enjoy. Even if you don’t appreciate cars that much, when you come out and see all of these amazing vehicles together, you’ll be like ‘wow.’ This community is huge and there’s a lot of amazing stuff that goes on with the car community and to see that all of these cars are down here in town, in Western Mass, it’ll just be a fun day for everyone,” Breed said.
To register a vehicle, there is a $25 minimum required donation. Registrants can choose to donate more toward the Lupus Research Foundation. For those with a loved one who has been affected by lupus, the option to donate in someone’s name is also available.
The Cars of Longmeadow show is currently seeking sponsors. To sponsor the show, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cars of Longmeadow show will take place July 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Longmeadow Shops. The rain date for the show is Aug. 4. The event is free for spectators. Guests are welcome to donate online at www.carsoflongmeadow.org. Donation tents will also be available at the show.
To keep up to date on the Cars of Longmeadow show, visit www.carsoflongmeadow.org and follow Breed on Instagram, @wbcar