There are toy drives and food drives, but for Gene Nunn and Courtney Dawson, it’s their sights on the third annual Bob’s Christmas Car Day drive that’s set to parade through town this weekend.
The idea, sparked by Dawson’s four-year-old son Maddox, the decorated cars are in memory of Bob Ziegler’s love interest. Maddox was watching TV and saw decorated cars driving around, and asked his mom why they couldn’t do that, too. Despite the fact that COVID had hit hard, keeping everyone indoors, there was little reason why people couldn’t drive around in their separate cars. So Dawson and Noon started talking about the idea and put the idea out on social media, and before they knew it an event was born.
Zeagler was a popular local figure who not only enjoyed decorating his Jeep Wrangler for various holiday events but also himself—sporting bows, ribbons, and new ornaments and figurines for a given season. His jeep was a Batavia, and the roof top usually stood out above the other vehicles in an amusing gaiety. He passed away in 2016.
The organizers wrote a poem last year to tell the story - in holiday fashion - of how and why the event came to be. It might be best to put yourself in an armchair by the fireplace to read:
Twas a week before Christmas - 2020 at home
Everyone is locked in - even the mouse.
Little boy watching TV - Decorated cars are driving around
He suddenly turned around and asked “Why can’t we do that?” - and walked around the city.
So his mom went online — and asked if anyone had fallen
To decorate their cars - and drive everywhere.
FREE SMALL STORE OPERATOR - He replied, very eager
The little boys told my mom - about a guy named Bob Ziegler.
So they start planning everything - courtesy of Bob’s wife
Help a little boy bring Bob’s soul back to life.
People came - to pay tribute to one man
Who always made others smile - the best he could.
We remember humor - his style and grace
Many miss him - miss seeing his face.
They miss seeing his clothes - all year long
A man who was like that - honest and honest.
Small child - and a few small words
Created something wonderful - for all other boys and girls.
To remember that man - that everyone knows
Even to the man of the holiday - happy birthday to you.
“Bob was a great friend of mine,” Nunn said, adding that she previously thought he deserved some sort of citywide honor for the entertaining role he played. “Courtney’s son saw the cars on TV…and it just took off. Anyone who wants to participate is most welcome.”
In fact, she and Dawson said, the more cars there are, the merrier. Participants will attend 4 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 300 East Main St. , Batavia. If you need decorations, they will be provided at that time. The parade is scheduled to continue at 4:30 p.m. along a route throughout the city’s predetermined streets.
“The event started in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to bring Christmas cheer to those who were stuck at home in quarantine,” said Noon. “This year, the event will start with a Christmas car ride around town, with cars decorated in the style of Bob’s always festive Jeep. The route will include stops at VA and nursing homes, as well as other locations in town.”
Besides the fun of the show, Noon, who works at the Little Free Pantry next to the church, took the event even further with an after party from 6-8pm. Kids can visit Santa Claus and pick a toy, and there will be refreshments available.
“This event will include refreshments, such as cocoa, cookies, cakes and tarts, as well as gifts of food and clothing. There will also be a visit from Santa where children and families are encouraged to take pictures.” After visiting Santa, children (up to 18 years old) will be able to visit his workshop and choose a toy Or two to take home. There will also be music, games, and tables set up by community organizations giving out freebies. “
Organizers said the event is free and open to anyone in the community and is supported by community members and local small businesses.
Donations can be placed in drop boxes at First Presbyterian Church or Genesee District Independent Living at 319 West Main Street, Batavia, until the day of the event.
For more information and track details, visit the event page or email us [email protected] or [email protected].
2020 Motor Parade photo file, by Stephen Ogneben. Portrait of Bob Ziegler by Howard Owens.