Photos by Rich Corozine
Despite a sometimes rainy day, firefighters, car enthusiasts and art fans gathered at the Ulster County Fairground last Saturday for the New Paltz Fire Department’s (NPFD) Annual “Cars and Crafts Show.”
Kids played in jumpy houses, on the mechanical bull or the “American Gladiators” jousting platform. Parents listened to music, grabbed some barbecue, shopped for handcrafted gifts or checked out the classic cars.
In a field full of Corvettes, Model T’s, T-bucket roadsters and classic trucks, it is safe to say that America’s Big Three and most every other car manufacturer were represented.
NPFD firefighter Ralph Scandariato helped organize the car show. At least 38 cars showed up, but rain scared away some car show competitors. Even so, he was happy with the event.
“Based on Mother Nature, and being the first year out here … we’re happy with it,” Scandariato said. “I want to give a big thank-you to all our members. This couldn’t have happened without them.”
David Hasbrouck, of New Paltz, won one of the big trophies for his entry of a robin’s egg blue, ’71 Chevy C10 pickup truck. Saving what money he could and putting it into it, Hasbrouck patiently restored the truck for more than 10 years.
“It was just a little bit here, a little bit there,” he said. “The only thing I couldn’t do to this truck myself was the wheel alignment and the inspection.”
The love Hasbrouck poured into the vehicle is immediately obvious. It’s also part of why he won. The engine and all the components are brand new. Despite being a Nixon-era truck, it looks better than when it rolled off the factory floor.
He fell in love with the C10 pickup after seeing one at another car show. It’s been his dream to restore one of his own. Hasbrouck said he isn’t entirely sure if he’s totally done with it either.
Willie Yee, the owner of a Star Trek themed Toyota Prius, also won a trophy at the car show. His Federation shuttlecraft-inspired car has won at least 70 other awards at car shows. Yee runs the local car show circuit with the vehicle.
As a lifelong fan of Star Trek — in its many incarnations — Yee had a well of inspiration pretty close to his heart. The idea came years back after he saw an angular, futuristic-looking Pontiac driving off into the sunset.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! The Federation has landed,” he said.
When the Prius finally came out, the hybrid bespoke futurism and science-fiction to Yee. He knew what he had to do.
Outside the car is painted like a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” shuttlecraft. Inside, the custom upholstery is emblazoned with Federation logos. It’s not just Spock that this car evokes, but all things sci-fi, Yee said. It also features numerous hidden references to other science-fiction shows.
Over in the tents hawking soaps, syrups, sculptures and jewelry, Eva James was busy roughing out a line drawing on a gourd with a mechanical pencil. Her sculptures — all made from gourds grown at Jenkins-Lueken Orchards in New Paltz — include the purely decorative along with birdhouses and other practical things.
“I create gourds,” she said with a smile. “I grow them all right here in New Paltz.”
James’s husband co-owns the orchard, and her decorative gourd venture is an offshoot of that agricultural use. Unlike many artists working with gourds, she sees the whole process through – from vine to workbench.
James uses Dremels and other tools to carve fine details in the hard-shelled fruits. Her work ranges from the serene and artsy to gourds painted with football team logos. She tackles just about any subject on commission.
Firefighters use the “Cars and Crafts” show as one of their big fundraisers during the year. It helps cover costs for extras not necessarily in the village budget. It’s been going on since 2009, but sometimes it has skipped a year.
New Paltz firefighters moved the event to the Ulster County Fairgrounds because it outgrew its old home at the NPFD Station 2, on Henry W. Dubois Drive.
Learn more about the NPFD at www.newpaltzfire.org.