DANVILLE -- For nearly a decade, it's been the ultimate car lover's delight.
For one Sunday each year, the Danville Concours d'Elegance transforms the picturesque, historic streets of downtown Danville into a virtual fantasyland for motorcar groupies. This month, the celebrated free auto show will roll into the area on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"It's our 10th anniversary, so it's a big year for us -- and our goal is $650,000," said Jim Edlund, co-chairman of this year's Danville d'Elegance, which raises money each year to benefit Parkinson's disease research and treatment. Danville d'Elegance was recognized for being the top fundraising team in the nation for the Michael J. Fox Foundation last year.
"Ten years have gone by pretty quickly, and we've donated over $2 million to Parkinson's research and care," Edlund said. "It's a great family day. And we'll have some really rare cars on Sunday at the concours that I guarantee most people have never seen before -- both foreign and domestic."
Among them are a Ferrari 2050 short-wheel-base and rare Cord automobiles, as well as some of the finest wooden boats and a race car parade at noon.
The event has grown in size with 8,000 to 10,000 spectators expected to attend this year, he said. Also it offers up a rarity: the chance to see the finest luxury and vintage autos on actual downtown streets for free, when often such concours are set on the pricey, protected greens of golf courses such as Pebble Beach.
But donations from concours attendees are encouraged, because the car extravaganza depends on those funds to benefit and raise awareness for the fight against Parkinson's disease, to which Edlund and many of its dedicated organizers have lost many family members.
The concours is the main event in a lineup of weekend-long fundraising events. On the morning on Sept. 20, the Tour d'Elegance and the Thrill Ride will take place, two events that will take participants from Lafayette to the back roads of Livermore wine country. Later at 6:30 p.m., a live auction and dinner, dubbed the "Dinner d'Elegance," will be held at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, said to have one of the finest automotive museums in the world.
"There's a selection of cars there that most people don't ever see in their lifetime," Edlund said. The Tour d'Elegance is sold out, but some spots are still open for the Thrill Ride, which allows drivers to make a donation of $1,000 to rent a luxury sedan or sport car to join in the tour.
The events' proceeds will go to the New York-based Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Sunnyvale-based Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center.
"It's a good event that is run by people who want to raise as much as they can for Parkinson's research," he said.
"And there's not a whole lot of events that generate that kind of money, but it's successful because it's a grass-roots, completely volunteer-run effort," he said. "And it's led to us to being one of the few surviving concours in California."
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.
The Concours is free and will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 along Hartz Avenue in downtown Danville. A limited number of spaces for the Concours d'Elegance are still available at $125 per vehicle and $40 per motorcycle.
The Tour d'Elegance drive through Wine County back roads the morning of Sept. 20 is now sold-out, but a limited number of spots are still available for the Thrill Ride to join the tour in a rented luxury auto or sports car for a $1,000 donation. Tickets also are available for that evening's Dinner d'Elegance and live auction starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Blackhawk Museum.
To attend the dinner, tickets are $250 per person and $150 if you're 30 or younger. For more information or to register for events, go to www.danville-