Auburn Heights hosts automobile display

Auburn Heights will be hosting its annual car display as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Marshall Steam Museum & Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve.

The event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 30 at Auburn Heights Preserve, 3000 Creek Road in Yorklyn, Del. The vehicles will remain on view around the magnificent Auburn Heights mansion from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

This year, the fourth year for the event, Auburn Heights Invitational Historic Automobile Display returns to offer attendees a glimpse of what life was like when the automobile was a novelty. With this year’s special spotlight on “Limos and Landaulets,” visitors revisit the time when the profession of chauffeur first emerged.

As the world transitioned from the era of the horse and carriage in the late 19th century to the age of the auto in the 20th, the word chauffeur first entered our vocabulary, stemming from the French word chauffer. Meaning to heat, chauffeur first referred to early steam-powered automobiles and the requirement that they be heated or fired up before being ready for the road.

During the early days of the automobile, a private driver or chauffeur was commonplace. Most early automobiles were expensive, so it seemed natural for those who first acquired cars to have their carriage drivers transition to driving their automobiles. But automobiles presented different challenges than the horse and carriage, and many early chauffeurs needed mechanical expertise and refused to assume the role of a servant, common in the age of carriages.

Visitors to the Auburn Heights Invitational will get a chance to explore these themes not only through the amazing automobiles on display around Auburn Heights but also through special activities. A “photo op” with the museum’s 1932 Packard will allow guests to step into the role of the chauffeur — or the chauffeured — using props, such as clothing, golf clubs, and picnic items, to put themselves in the picture. Or they can investigate special exhibits and discover the answer to the question: What is the difference between a limo and a landaulet?

Guests are encouraged to come hungry and ready to bid or buy raffle tickets. The event will feature food from the Country Butcher Fine Foods Market of Kennett Square, as well as ice cream from Woodside Farm Creamery, located in Hockessin. The day’s activities also include a silent auction and raffle, featuring items for all interests, such as the unique experience of a private plane ride, a signed autograph of Philadelphia Eagle tight end Brent Celek, special themed baskets, gift certificates and more — all benefiting the Joseph Boxler Education Fund, which supports educational programs at the Marshall Steam Museum.

All proceeds from the event support the Marshall Steam Museum and Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve (FAHP), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and operating the extraordinary collections entrusted to its care. The support from last year’s sponsors, advertisers, and enabled FAHP to raise more than $34,000, and it hope to surpass this goal in 2015.

Advance tickets are $18 ages 16 and up; $14 under 15 (infants free). Tickets are $22 at the gate. Advance tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at AuburnHeights.org, via phone at 302-239-2385), or in person from the Country Butcher Market in Kennett Square (with proceeds from the Country Butcher sales supporting the Joseph Boxler Education Fund at Auburn Heights). MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted. See AuburnHeights.org for the latest details and information.

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