LeMay – America’s Car Museum opened its doors Saturday night during a one-night only sneak peek for 650-plus partygoers at the “Hard Hat & High Heels” fundraiser, the first event to take place on the nine-acre museum campus.

Set to hold its Grand Opening in June 2012, ACM gave the sold-out crowd of members, benefactors and board members – all of whom were encouraged to wear ‘construction chic’ attire – a first look inside the four-level, 165,000-square foot facility, which will be filled with 500 cars, exhibits and more between now and its opening next spring.

“The reaction has been tremendous and gratifying for our team, which has been working for years to get to this point,” said David Madeira, president and CEO of ACM. “We still have a lot of hard work to do in the next nine months, but this was an important milestone  because it signifies ‘we’re open for business–NOW.’ Even though the grand opening is next year, the Museum is ready to host meetings, conventions, parties  and other event rentals. We’re already have events scheduled for next month into 2014!”

Madeira announced to the crowd that the museum will soon have its Certificate of Occupancy from the City of Tacoma. JTM Construction of Seattle is nearly finished with the final phase of the building’s construction, and that will pave the way for the installation of the museum’s interior elements and exhibitry. He also shared the news that ACM has partnered with the Kirkland Concours, taking over production of what has become one of the foremost classic car events in the nation. The 2012 Kirkland Concours will be held on ACM’s 3.5-acre show field September 9, 2012.

The Hard Hat & High Heels event included a reception, dinner, silent and live auctions, plus tours inside the facility, which showcased some of ACM’s 500-plus automobiles, including a 1927 LaSalle 303 Roadster, which was named “guest of honor” for the “Hard Hat & High Heels” preview party, and the museum’s most recent acquisition, a 1965 Lotus 35 Formula 1 race car donated to the museum by ACM board member (and Tacoma native) John Dimmer and his wife Marilyn.

The Dimmers were among the party guests, as were Bill and Gail Weyerhaeuser, John and Sally Barline, Jamie and Sally Will, Tom and Ann-Marie Hedges, Karl and Christine Anderson, Paul and Gloria Miller and Corry and Donna McFarland. The evening was emceed by television personality Rob Weller of Entertainment Tonight fame.

The auction, with approximately 130 items, raised more than $550,000 for the Museum.

“Hard Hat & High Heels” is part of ACM’s ongoing $12 million “Race to the Finish” campaign, a two-year drive to raise funds for operational support as the new Museum prepares to open next year. Funds raised will support collection preparation, exhibit development, educational programming, student internships, library acquisitions and archive development.

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