Hundreds of people went to the Pilot Point Square Saturday to enjoy the festivities of the third annual Hot Rods & Heroes event.
“It’s always great to see people come out and appreciate Pilot Point, and appreciate the first responders,” Pilot Point Main Street Program Director Lenette Cox said. “Cars are something everybody likes; even if you don’t know a lot about them.”
Attendees enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers grilled by the Pilot Point police and fire department, and Time Machine Car Show owner Ray Hershey hosted a custom car show.
More than 100 cars lined The Square, some dating as far back as the early 1900s.
“This event was for the first responders of Pilot Point,” Hershey said. “We wanted to take care of them, and show our gratitude for how much they take care of us.”
Barry Pennell, interim chief of the Pilot Point Police Department, said the event gave the community a chance to get to know the people behind the badge.
“Today was a way for us to say thank you to the community, and also a chance for us to meet new people and offer our service in any way possible,” Pennell said.
Tension between citizens and police department across the nation is at a high level because of recent shooting deaths of African Americans across the country.
Pennell thinks events like Hot Rods & Heroes can build rapport between the police and the local residents so events like that never happen in Pilot Point.
“It’s good to see when a community comes together as a whole,” Pennell said.
The Square was a mixture of locals and tourists, some who visited the square for the very first time.
Cox said the event gave visitors a chance to see what The Square has to offer.
“There’s a lot people that have never been to Pilot Point before, and they don’t know that the square is here,” Cox said. “During this event, they got a chance to see the coffee house or grab a bite to eat at Magnolia. I bet that over 90 percent of the people here don’t live in Pilot Point.”
Little Elm resident Brian Alto enjoys car shows, and he was impressed with the diversity of different models.
“I like seeing the different ideas and concepts that people put into their creations,” Alto said. “It intrigues me to see the different creations that people come up with.”
Alto is a Volkswagen enthusiast that participated in a car show a couple of years ago, so he appreciates the wide array of vehicles.
“There was a diverse collection of cars,” Alto said. “It’s a mix of older cars with more modern cars, which I think is good because it draws different enthusiasts, and gives them an idea of where we’ve come from through the life of an automobile.”
Alto also came to show support for local law enforcement, and lamented over fallen Little Elm police Det. Jerry Walker, who died in early January; he was thankful for the sacrifices officers make each and every day.
“I want to show respect for the people who put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” Alto said. “It’s a huge risk they take for themselves, for us, and for their families.”