Do you enjoy cars and supporting charities? Then the First Look for Charity Preview Party for the 2013 Portland International Auto Show is for TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - The 2012 VW Eoss power folding hardtop was a big hit at the Portland Auto Show last year. The Oregon Convention Center will host the 2013 Auto Show again this year.

For the first time, the gala event held the evening before the annual Auto Show begins will be open to the public as a charitable fundraiser. Tickets are $200, with all the money going to three worthy charities: the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

The preview party will be held on the evening of Jan. 23. It will include food, refreshments, music and complete access to the Auto Show, which will be located throughout the Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The show continues from Jan. 24 to 27.

The 2013 Portland International Auto Show is presented by the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association. Executive Vice President Greg Remensperger says that in the past, the preview party has been held for association members, sponsors and their guests. But growing public interest prompted the organization to open it everyone this year.

“The annual Portland International Auto Show has traditionally donated some of its proceeds to charitable organizations, so they decision to make the preview party a charitable fundraiser was an easy one. And for this event, the MPNCDA will absorb all the production costs and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to charity,” says Remensperger.

People attending the preview party can choose which charity to support. Tickets must be bought online at the auto dealer’s website,

The Portland International Auto Show has long been the one place to see almost all of the newest cars, trucks, van, crossovers and SUVs in one place. More than 30 manufacturers are scheduled to participate in this year’s show, which is taking place as motor vehicle sales are recovering from the Great Recession. Sales in 2012 were reportedly around 14.5 million vehicles in the United States, the highest number since 2008.

Analysts attribute the increase to many factors. They include the record age of vehicles on the road. Many motorists put off buying new vehicles during tough economic times and are now facing costly repair bills. In addition, manufacturers are offering a wide variety of new vehicles there days, ranging from all-electric cars to redesigned family sedans, fuel-efficient sport utility vehicles and tough but comfortable trucks. And many manufacturers are also providing discounts, special financing and other incentives to boost sales.

But the show has also evolved over the years to broaden its appeal. This year it will include a Mobility Zone with products for people with trouble getting around and Wellness Garage with personal health checkups and advice. Also returning ride-and-drives by manufacturers and Camp Jeep, the popular indoor off-road course featuring Jeep vehicles.

Discount admission and special events are also available on Family Day, which is Sunday, Jan. 27.

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