that band

PHOTO: That Band will perform

Middletown, N.J. – The New Jersey Blind Citizens Association (NJBCA) and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation have kicked into high gear and will team up to host The Eighth Annual Auto Show & Motorcycle Meet, a charitable family-friendly event which will fund programs for the blind and visually-impaired and other sight-related initiatives. It will be held on Saturday, September 21 from 3-7 p.m. in the Middletown Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Route 35 and New Monmouth Road. The rain date is Sunday, September 22.

     NJBCA, a 104-year old non-profit organization, offers supportive programs and activities including a fine arts program which encourages participants to express themselves through drawing, painting, and sculpture; a computer training program which teaches members about computer literacy and the use of the internet and email; a peer support group to foster coping skills relative to the challenges and issues associated with vision loss; an award-winning crochet group which garnered several awards at the Monmouth County Fair this year, and a garden club along with special events scattered throughout the year. Programs are offered at Camp Happiness, the main headquarters and day campus located at 18 Burlington Avenue in the Leonardo section of Middletown. The phone number is (732) 291-0878. NJBCA is the oldest organization serving and advocating for the blind and visually-impaired in the state of New Jersey.

     Since 1946, the Middletown Lions Club, a charitable service organization chartered under Lions International,  has helped individuals and families in need both locally and globally through various charitable service and fundraising initiatives. Lions consider themselves ‘Knights of the Blind’ and were directly challenged by Helen Keller to adopt blindness as a cause. A signature club initiative is the all-volunteer vision screening team, the ‘Knights of Sight,’ who are trained to provide free vision screenings to elementary school children. The team uses specialized cameras to perform the screenings. To date, over 5,000 students in local school districts such as Middletown Township, Red Bank Borough, Hazlet Township, and Matawan-Aberdeen have been tested. The cost of each camera is approximately $11,000, not counting annual maintenance costs and other associated expenses. Proceeds from the event will help ensure continuation of the program, which has helped to preserve the eyesight of several children who had undetected problems. The club also underwrites the cost of free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who qualify financially.

     The event theme is appropriately titled “HAPPY TOGETHER” and will celebrate the decades-long partnership between the Lions and the NJBCA. To honor the good work of both organizations, Kevin Mulvaney, a local singer and songwriter from Leonardo, will be performing with members of his group THAT Band. “THAT Band is extremely proud to be a part of this benefit for the blind. Camp Happiness has been a fixture in my hometown of Leonardo for as long as I can remember. Music is a huge force for healing. I’ve often said THAT Band has the best, most giving and unselfish audience in the world. Whenever we have done a benefit, our fans have never let us down. I expect them to be there for the blind and for the Lions on this great day of music for an awesome cause,” noted Kevin Mulvaney, the group’s lead singer. Disc Jockey Stephen Munger of No Limit Entertainment, Middletown, will also be spinning the ‘oldies but goodies’ during the event.

     Members of the public are invited to attend the free afternoon of activities which will feature classic cars of all types, motorcycles, vendors, entertainment for adults and children including face-painting, a magician, and a special visit of ‘Leonardo the Ninja Turtle’ coordinated by My Fairytale Dream, www.myfairytaledream.com. 100% of the event proceeds will support the charitable programs and initiatives of both NJBCA and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation, 501 (c) (3) organizations.

     All classes of vehicles including classic, stock, custom, antique, hot rod, collector, imports, luxury, and trucks are encouraged to enter in addition to all classes of motorcycles. The entrance fee is $12 in advance for pre-registered vehicles and motorcycles and $15 on the day of the show. Many awards and class honors will be presented including Best Engine, Best Exterior, Best Interior, Best of Show, Mayor’s Trophy, Presidential Trophy, and new this year, an award for the car or motorcycle club with the most registrants and/or vehicles. Registration forms are available on the websites of the Middletown Lions Club at www.mlions.org and the NJBCA at www.njbca.org. Information is available by contacting Event Chairs Craig Finnegan by phone at (732) 856-2821 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Lori Anne Oliwa by phone at (732) 337-8625 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     Business sponsorship is available at various levels from $200 to $500, and vendor spots are $100. The event attracts thousands of spectators from Middletown and the surrounding communities, providing a good opportunity for businesses to connect with potential customers and clients. Information on sponsorships is available by contacting Lion Lori Anne Oliwa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling her at (732) 337-8625.

     The Garden State Land Surveyors Alliance Inc. (GSLSA Inc.), an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of land surveyors, is the platinum event sponsor at the $3,000 level. GSLSA Executive Director Thomas Craig Finnegan, a resident of the Belford section of Middletown who is also the Immediate Past District Governor of Lions District 16-B in New Jersey, noted that the GSLSA supports the blind and other sight-related causes since eyesight is so critical to the profession of land surveying.

     Those who cannot attend the event but would like to support it financially can send a check payable to the Middletown Lions Club Foundation, P.O. Box 75, Middletown, N.J., 07748. All contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible. For more information, view the website www.mlions.org.

Photo: Members of THAT Band will headline a charitable auto show & motorcycle meet September 21 to benefit both the Middletown Lions Club and the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association. Go to www.mlions.org and www.njbca.org for information.