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Porsches in the Park with Patrick Dempsey

Above: Down East Region member, Laurel Townsend and Patrick Dempsey at the 2019 Porsches in the Park charitable event.

Article by Jim Hemig
Photos courtesy Down East Region

Porsche Club of America Regions create fantastic opportunities to give back to their communities. Sometimes PCA Regions even partner with celebrities. PCA just happens to have a very famous Porsche enthusiast who calls the Down East Region area home – Patrick Dempsey.

In 2017, Down East Region President Nate Marcoux and new member Lou Jacobs envisioned bringing three passions of Patrick Dempsey together for one event: The Dempsey Center, Porsches, and Maine. 

The Dempsey Center was formed by well-known Mainer, actor, and Porsche racer Patrick Dempsey and his sister Mary, in honor of their mother who died from cancer. The Dempsey Center is committed to helping cancer patients and their families manage the impact of cancer in their lives, at no cost. Patrick also started an event called The Dempsey Challenge, which is a mainstay event in Maine, and runs to help fund The Dempsey Center, located in Lewiston, Maine. 

The outlandish part of Nate and Lou's idea was to attract around 200 cars. With a primary membership of less than 200 in a sparsely populated state, veterans of the Down East Region pronounced the idea to be more than a bit optimistic. Longtime members predicted the turnout would be closer to 20-30 Porsches, based on their previous experience at Down East Region shows. Undeterred, Nate and Lou continued to develop the idea, although they agreed to compromise and aim for only 100 Porsches. Pressing on, they set a date in early July for the charitable event supporting The Dempsey Center.

The Down East Region received great support from the folks at the Dempsey Center, including Patrick and Mary Dempsey. However, the event committee quickly realized that there would be no available real estate in Lewiston for such an event while the Dempsey Challenge was occurring. With the huge (for Maine) event planned to occur in six months, the team had no location identified. 

Taking up the challenge, the Down East Region created an event committee with Roland Morin volunteering to chair the committee and Nate Marcoux, Lou Jacobs, Judi Mansing, Randy and Sandi Schiller, Steve Atwell, and Rod Carr helping as well. 

A couple of months later, the committee determined to have the show at Bug Light Park, a South Portland City Park, which is about five acres of clear peninsula just across the bay from Portland, Maine. With the Bug Lighthouse on the end, the beautiful scenery provided a great place for a Porsche show. The location selected also led to naming the event “Porsches in the Park!”

The weekend selected was also the weekend of a DE at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec, and several Down East Region members were running there – including four of the committee members. Missing the event, they texted feverishly back to Bug Light Park to find out how things were going.

Even with some Down East Region members still at Mt. Tremblant, 97 Porsches arrived at the show. Entrants included Patrick Dempsey himself with his new 911R. Patrick was great with the crowd, weather was perfect, and the event was a great success.

With this initial success, the Down East Region decided to build on the event for 2018 by getting the word out to neighboring PCA Regions. The 2018 event committee aimed for 200 Porsches, but ended up with over 220 Porsches, including two tractors! The third annual event in 2019 again had around 220 Porsches displayed in the park. 

The Down East Region is proud to partner with Patrick and Mary Dempsey supporting this worthwhile cause. All event proceeds were sent to the Dempsey Center, with last year’s contribution ending up at $28,000.

Every year across Porsche Club of America, members are making a difference with many heartwarming and thoughtful acts of kindness. The above is just one of those community contributions. Be sure to check e-Brake News to read more about PCA Regions making a difference and visit the Members Making a Difference page for additional past articles. If your Region has a charitable activity or event that you would like to share, contact us to share the story.