By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
"It's all stock," said Leanne Blevins of her 1966 Ford Mustang.
The note of pride and confidence in her voice is what she hopes to hear in the voices of other teens during the Festival Days youth car show. The car show will run from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 and will be followed by a street dance. The car show is for youths ages 21 and under. The dance also will be geared toward teens but will be open to all ages.
The idea for a car show was passed from Debbie Vandeberg, executive director of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, to Tim Maroney, co-chair of Havre Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth. Maroney went straight to Blevins, a 17-year-old senior at Havre High School and a vintage-car owner.
The street dance was added by Blevins and her co-organizers, Havre High School seniors Kim Jestrab and Rebecca Hilliard, Blevins said. This week Vandeberg was able to confirm that the insurance policy for Festival Days would also cover the dance, and now organizers can begin looking for a disc jockey.
Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth was begun in Havre in 2001 to raise community awareness among youths, to get youths involved in the community, and to teach them how to plan community events, Maroney said.
The girls are gathering door prizes for the event, and they have had help from local business owners Mike Hamilton and Sean Holden. The group has already gathered prizes from some gas stations and car dealerships. They have also gotten Coca-Cola to sponsor the dance, so there will be free pop.
The one thing the girls haven't gathered are any male organizers.
"I know that we've been telling the guys about the meetings, but they've been busy with sports and stuff," said Joanna Ulgenes, another senior who has been active helping the group.
"I guess us girls are just involved," Jestrab said.
Joking aside, Maroney hopes that part of the benefit of the car show will be to draw more young men to participate in Healthy Communities.
Jestrab said having a youth car show is a first.
"From the start they decided they wanted to do a youth show because it's normally older people who have car shows," Jestrab said.
"We don't expect a whole lot of people this year, but we hope in the future it can be a big thing for the Festival Days," she added.
As for short-term goals, the organizers of the event report they've all gained new skills.
"It's helped me be a leader, a planner," Ulgenes said.
"I've been kind of head of this the whole way through, appointing people to do different tasks. It's just been fun. We really like the idea that we're getting people involved who might not have a chance to be so they can have a moment to shine. Get kids involved. I'm really for that." Blevins said.
The car show will begin at 4 p.m. on the Town Square, followed by the dance at the same location.
Prizes will be awarded for hottest car, hottest truck, hottest motorcycle, powder puff, best sound system, classic car and best of show.