George Burnside drove his Halloween-themed classic car alongside the pumpkin patch at Michell Farms on Thursday, clad in a killer clown costume.
“It’s so much fun, I’ll do it all year round if I could,” Burnside joked.
But behind his creepy clown mask, Burnside, who has loved Halloween since he was a boy, says dressing his car up in spooky themes each year is so much more than an annual attention-grabbing tradition.
“It signifies my sobriety, every day I drive it I don’t drink anymore I don’t look at drugs, I drive around daily bringing smiles to people’s faces,” he said.
Eight years ago, Burnside spent most of his time riding around Sidney on two wheels instead of four.
“I sadly lost a roommate to alcoholism so I was riding my bike to get me out of the bar and off the couch drinking beers,” he recalled.
That’s when he spotted the 1965 Ford Fairlane on a rural property and asked to buy it. Little did he know the car and the people it would help him meet would ultimately save him from a life of addiction.
“George is well known around this town for having a rough go for a long time in his life, he pulled himself out of it with his biking and soon the car and the car has really kept him going,” said friend and fellow classic car enthusiast Emily Rose.
Burnside is now on a mission to help others, even driving his famed Ford to Victoria’s Pandora Avenue where he’s become a friendly face and an inspiration to those struggling with addiction.
“I sat down there and talked to them while they had a cigarette and say it’s possible,” he said
“He’s changed a lot of people I know he’s changed me and my outlook even on addiction, it gave me so much more hope in people that I do know that are still struggling,” said Rose.
Burnside, who works as a chef, can be seen driving his car around Sidney most days. He and his friends are planning a Halloween classic car parade Sunday, Oct. 30 starting at 7 p.m. along Beacon Avenue in Sidney and around Victoria International Airport.