LAND O'LAKES — Al and Ida Silver were tireless boosters for the community, promoting youth sports, improving the Land O'Lakes Community Center and famously lobbying for Christmas decorations along Land O'Lakes Boulevard — even though they were Jewish.
Now the Silvers — he died in 2004, she followed in 2009 — are being memorialized in a classic car show that kicks off Saturday. The Al and Ida Silver Memorial Classic Car Show at the Land O'Lakes Community Center will raise money for building an amphitheater to host local bands and music events.
Once again, the Silvers are bringing the community together.
"Al and Ida were always involved in getting people in the community together and being active within it," said Sandra Graves, president of the Heritage Park Foundation. "They were a big part of this foundation getting started, and we're trying to carry on that ideal of keeping the community feeling alive in this area."
The owner of A-OK Trophies, Al Silver was a fixture at Little League banquets and organized a recreational soccer tournament drawing teams from other counties. Ida ran the trophy business after her husband's death, then handed it off to their daughter, Lonnie Piper-Buckle.
"My parents moved down here 40 years ago and wanted to boost the community atmosphere in the area," Piper-Buckle said. "My father always wanted to improve the quality of life for people in Land O'Lakes. It means a lot to me to be carrying on the family business."
The Silver family helped found the Heritage Park Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the Land O'Lakes Community Center and preserving the sense of community.
Their passion had no boundaries. Al Silver didn't celebrate Christmas but lobbied heavily to have Christmas decorations placed alongside Land O'Lakes Boulevard, to make the area more recognizable.
"Everybody I've talked to since the passing of my father has said that's something they remember about him," Piper-Buckle said. "It's the big joke around here, that we're Jewish and my father was the one who instigated Christmas decorations up, down a main highway, but that's how much he wanted people to notice the area."
Before his death, Al Silver developed fundraisers based on another passion of his, classic cars. He loved shows that put automobiles of the '50s, '60s, and '70s at center stage — and he directed the proceeds from his events to charities such as hospice.
Those shows inspired this weekend's classic car show, organized by the Heritage Park Foundation and the Land O'Lakes Saturday Market.
The community amphitheater project has gone through the developmental stage and awaits approval from the county.
"We really didn't know how to do a car show but we met people who did and they've helped us through the process," said Pam St. Mary, manager of the Land O'Lakes Saturday Market.
"We're going to have a lot going along with the market this Saturday. We're expecting about 50 classic cars and there will be plenty for kids to do and a lot of vendors so it should be a really fun day."