As ticket number 003904 was announced, the crowd that had gathered at the Buggy Wheel Pavilion parted and Carl Loetz, of Michigan City, hurried to the stage.
“I wanted to fall over,” Loetz said about the moment he realized he had won. “It’s unbelievable. … I was in the right place at the right time.”
Visitors to the 27th annual show were automatically entered in the drawing with their ticket stubs, but the winner was required to be present. The drawing’s prize, sponsored by The Times Media Co., was a 1986 maroon Corvette convertible.
“This is the first convertible in the six years we’ve been doing this,” said Gino Burelli, of Harbor Automotive Group, which operates the event.
Bill Masterson Jr., The Times Media Co. publisher, helped Burelli pull the winning ticket.
“It’s a wonderful event,” Masterson said. “We’re proud to be a part of it.”
Event highlights included a car show and auction, a Corvette racing display, a swap meet, product vendors and a for-sale corral. Visitors enjoyed food vendors, a beer garden, dance and Hula Hoop contests, and live entertainment, including doo wop group Harbor Lights.
“We like to hang around and have a good time,” said Rudy Samano, of Portage, who said he and his wife, Lisa, attend the show every year. They won second place in the car show for their 1973 stock Z28.
Burelli said nearly 7,000 visitors attended the two-day event, which featured 500 car show participants and 200 vendors.
Karen and Larry McIntosh, of Kouts, won second place for their modified 1967 Camaro.
“I’m an old hot rod,” Larry McIntosh said.
After the crowd dispersed and he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, Loetz collaborated with a friend about what to do next.
“I don’t know how I’ll get two cars home, but I’ll figure it out,” Loetz said.