Good luck finding a parking spot in Ashland Saturday night and Sunday morning when approximately 1,200 Mini Coopers come into town for the first stop in the seventh annual Mini Takes the States event.
Andrew Cutler, a Mini communications director, said they’re estimating 1,200 Mini Coopers will converge on Southern Oregon University over the weekend.
The event has two routes. One starts in Portland and the other in Orlando, Florida. Roughly 2,800 Mini Coopers will meet up in Keystone, Colorado, from July 20 to 22.
“There is a component of the marketplace where the car culture is alive and well, and people want to get together with other like-minded people who share their passion,” Cutler said.
Roughly 1,000 cars will drive from Portland to Ashland Saturday and will be joined by many more along the way.
They’re inviting the public to check out the cars during their Rise and Rally event at SOU from 7:30 a.m. until their departure around 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
“There’s this strong community of Mini owners that comes together around the common theme of Minis,” Cutler said. “When we look at today’s age when people can be so divided and polarized, you know this idea of coming together around a common theme, a common cause … there’s more that unites us than divides us.”
Besides fostering Cooper camaraderie, the event is also designed to generate awareness about hunger in America. Mini Takes the States partners with Feeding America and encourages participants and onlookers alike to donate to feedingamerica.org. A portion of each registration fee is also donated.
In 2016 the drive raised enough money to provide 1.3 million meals to American families. This year the goal is to exceed 2 million meals. Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks working collectively to fight the war on hunger in the U.S.
“Doing good and giving back through our relationship with Feeding America is so important to us as well, because we find a lot of Mini owners agree that there is a greater calling in experiencing life and experiencing community through this Mini ownership that makes it more meaningful,” Cutler said. “This is one of the reasons why we do it.”