RAYMOND – The Branched Oak Observatory will be holding its first Cars and Stars on Saturday, June 22.

Observatory Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Sibbernsen said Cars and Stars will be held on the observatory grounds, from 5 p.m. to midnight, at 14300 NW 98th Street in Raymond.

Cars and Stars is a joint effort fundraising event by the Branched Oak Observatory and Smile-Center.org., sponsored by Security First Bank.

Smile-Center.org is the home for S.M.I.L.E. (Seeking More Independent Life Experiences), a non-profit organization that seeks to help disabled children gain the freedom of movement by providing specialized ride-on vehicles.

“It gives them a real sense of mobility and freedom,” Sibbernsen said.

Various activities will be available for all ages during Cars and Stars.

“We’ll have different things going on throughout the night,” Sibbernsen said.

These activities will include day-time solar viewings with solar telescopes, science-oriented crafts and a free pizza dinner. The star party begins once the sun sets. A raffle will also be held with a number of prizes, including two unmodified riding vehicles for mobility-disabled children.

The all-day car show will include vintage, sports, muscle and others. All the cars at the event will be from car enthusiasts throughout the local area and Nebraska.

“We put a call out for people to come and show off their “babies”,” Sibbernsen said.

Free car registrations can be filled out and submitted online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeR7xfX9hTx_Sp3_rgwUxnSReU72wB47dxZLYbl6uZR5tz30Q/viewform.

The event was originally planned for last weekend but had to be cancelled because of rain.

“There was so much rain that the grounds couldn’t support the foot traffic or the vehicles,” Sibbernsen said.

Should the weather prove uncooperative again, Sibbernsen said the Cars and Stars would be moved to Saturday, June 29.

Sibbernsen said while he’s looking forward to the Cars and Stars as a whole, there are a few moments he plans on specifically making sure he sees.

“The highlight of these events is having the kids getting the choice to see Jupiter, Saturn or the Moon through a telescope for the first time,” Sibbernsen said.

He said he is also greatly looking forward to the looks on the kids’ faces when they see their new ride-on vehicle.

Two specifically modified vehicles will be presented to two pre-selected families with a mobility-disabled child that will be able to move with the sense of independence and freedom the vehicles provide.

Overall, Sibbernsen said he’s excited to provide the community an event where they can come, let their hair down and have some fun.

“It’s to get the community together and enjoy nature and astronomy,” Sibbernsen said.

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