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Derby cars help get United Way campaign rolling

Staff report
Tropical Storm Hanna provided a slight christening for the United Way kickoff, but that didn’t quell the enthusiasm or stop the fun and games.
As the Fabulous Kayes performed, folks followed the strong odor of onions to the Kiwanis Club hot dog and hamburger stand.
Toddlers took turns riding ponies in the corner of the F&M Bank parking lot at Liberty and North Main streets.
Hundreds enjoying Family Night Out and the United Way kickoff jammed sidewalks along North Main Street to watch the first legal car race from the Square in years.
Twelve soapbox derby cars rolled down North Main, with the General Electric entry coming in first.
Steve Troutman provided the power push to send the GE car with Barbara Dennis at the wheel to an easy victory.
Among the spectators, a horse in a well-appointed trailer parked in front of the Rowan County Justice Center had perhaps the best view. He (or she) watched, sniffed the odor from the grills and appeared to shake his (or her) head to the tune “I’ll Be There,” as others danced to the band.
An old Chevrolet sporting political bumper stickers of all parties took a real bashing in a political poll requiring a hammer. Participants donated $1 to take a swing.
United Way officials declared the kickoff event a huge success.
Jackie Harris, marketing director for the Rowan County United Way, said holding the kickoff with Downtown Salisbury’s Family Night Out made it a big hit. “We’re hoping to build on it next year,” she said.
And Harris said talk on the street is that several other companies are already talking about building cars and getting into the derby next year.
United Way volunteers, including many employees of the corporate sponsors, team up to give the 2009 United Way campaign a special sendoff. The goal for this year’s campaign is just under $2 million, a slight decrease because of the downturn in the economy.
The next big event for the United Way comes Sept. 11 ó the United Way Day of Caring, with volunteers set to do community projects at 51 sites. More than 700 volunteers have signed up for the projects.
The campaign’s final event will be Nov. 6 at the J. F. Hurley Family YMCA, when a drawing will be held to see which contributor wins a new car. Salisbury’s five car dealerships are teaming up for the new car giveaway.
Two names of contributors will be drawn at each weekly meeting with the 12 finalists in the drawing for the new car.
Anyone who would like to contribute or volunteer to work in the United Way campaign may call 704-633-1802.

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