ROCHELLE — On Saturday at the Rochelle Municipal Airport, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation hosted the first annual Planes, Trains & Automobiles fundraiser event.
The RACF and presenting sponsors Zekelman Industries and the City of Rochelle and Rochelle Municipal Utilities put on the event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the proceeds of which will support the RACF and its nonprofit mission as it looks forward to strengthening its community impact. Along with unique aircraft and train exhibits, the event featured cars from each decade going back an entire century including vehicles from The Hamilton Collection, which exhibited several hyper cars from its $30 million collection.
The event also included an online-only silent auction and food vendors.
"Today has by far exceeded our expectations,” RACF Executive Director Emily Anaya said. “The amount of people that have come out in support of this event is truly amazing. We've had people come all the way from California. We have local people here and people from surrounding areas. It's been a great turnout. I think it's been very family-oriented and has brought out a diverse group. It's fun for all."
Anaya thanked Zekelman Industries for its generosity as a sponsor and said the event could not have gone on without the support of the city and the airport. RACF board members stepped up in preparation for and during the event. Dave Tess helped to secure vehicles from each decade and Jacob Becker had a connection to the Hamilton Collection.
The Hamilton Collection put on a show on the airport’s runway and attendees were able to get up close and personal with the cars afterwards.
Anaya said she plans to make Planes, Trains & Automobiles an annual event, and different areas of interest could be featured each year.
“We'd love to feature the military, motorcycles or semi-trucks,” Anaya said. “The sky's the limit. I think our board is eager and willing and passionate about bringing new things to the community to help it grow. We're always bringing money and putting it back into the community through the foundation. That's what we're here for and that's what we're all about. Supporting our nonprofits. We'll do that however we can."
One hundred percent of RACF’s funds stay local in Rochelle. The goal for Saturday’s event was to raise $10,000 when all was said and done. The money will allow for RACF to continue and improve on its ability to raise funds within the community to support its nonprofit partners.
“We're going to add what we make to our $860,000 that we've put back into the community over the last 17 years,” Anaya said. “We're just going to keep going. I can't wait to hit $1 million."
Anaya said she felt grateful on Saturday while seeing the community come together to enjoy the event and day.
“My heart is so full and I'm humbled by the generosity of people,” Anaya said. “People did purchase a ticket to come in here today, but they're also making donations. Because they know it's going to the community foundation and what RACF does for our area. My board members have all come together and they're working so hard today. They want to make sure everyone here has a great experience and that nobody is wanting for anything. It just shows that the community comes out to support things and the people that are working here are going to give 150 percent.”