TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's back again! But this year, the annual Greater Toledo Car Show is celebrating a special birthday. The event commemorates the show's 100th year running.

While the final touches for the auto show are being complete, the show is kicked off with a special event for an important purpose.

The $250 ticket event, hosted by the group Auto Dealers United for Kids, has helped raise $1.7 million over the last 13 years. That money is distributed to local children's charities including the Make-a-Wish foundation, read for literacy & claire's day and others. Attendees also receive first access to all of the cars on display.

"It's just a great time, it really is. We've the grazing stations, we've got the bars. we've got 200 new beautiful cars down here, out of the weather. They're all shined up today and ready to go. It's a great event," said Pat Stark, Auto Dealers United for Kids.

Like in years past, dealers will continue giving back to the community through their "The Stars are the Cars XIV" preview gala, hosted by WTOL 11's very own Jerry Anderson and Melissa Andrews.

The gala on Jan. 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. included a special performance from Crystal Bowersox.

This year's recipients will include:

  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Baby University
  • Imagination Station Adopt-A-School-Program
  • The Historic South Initiative
  • Read for Literacy and Claire’s Day
  • The Erie Shores Council of Boy Scouts of America
  • University of Toledo and Owens Community Colleges’ ADUK-TADA Scholarship Endowment

The 2017 Greater Toledo Auto Show opens to the public Thursday, but Wednesday, the media got a sneak peek at what people will get to see up close and personal.

As always, the Toledo Automobile Dealers Association will bring new vehicles, along with the latest technologies to car enthusiasts.

In 2016, new vehicle sales reached more than $17 million, topping the previous year's record-breaking numbers, according to a press release.

"The automotive industry in and of itself in Toledo is exceptionally important, especially because there's a lot of new initiatives that are happening now," said Event Director Ami DeAngelo. "We have a new Jeep Wrangler that's actually going to be created on a factory right here in Toledo, so it brings a lot to the economy."

The event, sponsored by the Toledo Blade, will feature the newest car models from 23 manufacturers, two ride-and-drive experiences, plus a chance to win a two-year lease on a 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatchback 1LT.

DeAngelo said her team is so excited to share the momentous occasion with the community and to commemorate 100 years of automobiles at the show.

"When you come on down you'll see in the lobby, we have a plaque that kind of commemorates that and talks a little bit about what the show used to look like back in 1917 and also displays a 1917 Haynes, which is one of the cars you might have seen in the Toledo Auto Show back then," said DeAngelo.

The auto show is also holding a social media contest for all who attend.

"It's called the 'are you here yet?' social media contest," DeAngelo said. "Come on down, take a picture of yourself anywhere on the floor, post it on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever it is and you're instantly registered to win a family four-pack of Toledo Mudhens' tickets."

The Greater Toledo Auto Show runs from through Jan. 29 at the SeaGate Convention Center.

Tickets are $7 at the box office and $5 online, with children nine and under admitted free with a paid adult. Tickets for students with appropriate IDs are $5 and seniors will receive $5 admission all day Friday.

For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit the show's website.