Jerry Putnam Car Show vital part of Nazareth Child & Family Connection Fun Fest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

Nazareth Child & Family Connection

ROCKWELL — In the mid-1990s, Jerry Putnam suggested that Nazareth Child & Family Connection may want to add a car show to its annual Fun Fest. Turns out Putnam’s idea was a pretty solid one.

Now 26 years later, the car show is a vital part of Nazareth’s Fun Fest, the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser of the year. Putnam passed away in 2021, but he will always be a part of Nazareth’s car show. It is now the Jerry Putnam Car Show, and his children, Steve and Lisa, are at the helm.

This year’s Nazareth Child & Family Fun Fest is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and in addition to the 26th Annual Jerry Putnam Car Show, there will be live music from The Castaways, kids’ activities, craft show, silent auction, vendors, and many types of food for sale. For the first time, there will be a truck show this year. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The day winds down with a drawing for a new vehicle, donated by Cloninger Ford Toyota or $10,000 in cash. Raffle tickets for the new car giveaway are available and may be purchased online at or by visiting the agency’s Outlet and Thrift Store on Innes Street. Tickets will also be sold on site during Fun Fest.

The car show started with just a handful of vehicles in 1996 but has blossomed over the years. It typically draws right at 200 classic cars from throughout the region.

“It’s pretty amazing how the car show has gotten bigger and bigger over the years. For a lot of the people who come to Fun Fest, the car show is their first stop,” said Vernon Walters Jr., president and CEO of Nazareth Child & Family Connection. “It has become a vital part of Fun Fest thanks to the hard work of Steve and Lisa Putnam and their father Jerry.

“Jerry was a big car show guy and he thought it would work for us and he was right. He and Steve and Lisa are the ones who have made this thing go.”

Like their father, Steve and Lisa believe the show is all about the children of Nazareth.

“We would go with our father to lots of car shows and cruise-ins and hand out flyers for the Nazareth show,” said Steve. “Helping the kids is important. People will come from all around, just because it is for the children’s home.”

Awards will be presented to the top 40 cars along with best of show, best of interior, best of paint, best engine, and ladies’ choice. Dash plaques will be awarded to the first 100 entrants.

Entry fee is $20 and may be made online at Entries will also be taken on the day of the event.

The 116th Annual Fun Fest is held on the campus of Nazareth Children’s Home located at 725 Crescent Road in Rockwell.

About Nazareth Child & Family Connection

Founded in 1906, Nazareth Child & Family Connection is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for every child, individual and families. In addition to the residential services for children and foster care program, Nazareth Child & Family Connection has outpatient facilities in Salisbury and Lexington serving individuals with mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, as well as behavioral health needs.

Nazareth offers an array of services, including family foster care, adoptions, transitional living services for young adults, day treatment for elementary and middle school children, teen mother residential services, level two therapeutic residential, individual and group outpatient therapy, psychiatric services and outpatient substance abuse therapy in Rowan, Davidson and Stanly counties. If you would like more information about giving or volunteering at Nazareth, please contact Hugo Crigler, director of development, at 704-279-5556 ext. 113 or by emailing