“Only” 450 cars. Are you kidding?
Several days of rain and the possibility of even more kept about 40 car owners from attending the July 10 Sawyer Motors Car Show, said organizer Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors, “so we had about 450 cars, which is slightly less than the 500 cars we expected.”
While the threat of rain may have kept some car owners from showing up, it didn’t stop car lovers from coming. This year’s car show had the largest turnout, Siracusano said. “There were more than 11,000 people.” The estimated 10,000 people that showed up last year had been the biggest turnout.
In addition to packing the streets of the village, many of those 11,000 people went into the village’s restaurants and bars. “Those people told me they had their best day ever,” Siracusano said.
The car show runs from 1 p.m. to about 6 p.m. Those in the know get to the show early. Beginning about 10 a.m. cars begin to show up in the village – one or two at a time they are parked in the M&T Bank/HITS parking lot, giving early birds a chance to see some pretty sweet rides.
As the time gets closer to the 1 p.m. start, the majority of the cars pull into the village. You can hear them from far off, their engines revving up and the police leading them onto Partition Street and onto Main Street. One of the prime places to watch the parade of cars is from Stella’s Restaurant on Partition Street.
A mix of sounds
This year, the show’s house band, the Cagneys, were playing their brand of rock on the stage in the parking lot at Russell and Partition as the cars rumbled by. This bit of the village has come to be known as Corvette Corner. The Vettes that park there
are members of the First Capital Corvette Club from Hurley, which has over 100 members.
Other bands that performed included Soul City, Lights Out, Roadhouse, and Innocent.
One of the highlights was the Cherished Memories, a do-wop group made up of residents from the Hudson Valley. “Most of us grew up in the Bronx,” said Charlie Imperato, group spokesman. “This is the music we heard when we were growing up, and being sung on the street corners.”
Imperato spoke as the group was just finishing a great version of “Blue Moon” at the Exchange Restaurant. They performed at all the village’s eating and drinking establishments, Siracusano said.
Souped-up bread truck
Saugerties resident Brian Morris, and his buddy, Steven Bennett of Catskill, aren’t really into shiny cars. They’re more into rust. The love of vehicle bodies in their original condition is what bonds the two friends. This was evident in the vehicle they brought to the show, a 1955 International bread delivery truck.
“Two years ago, I was out in California looking for unique vehicles,” Morris said. “When I got a call about this vehicle sitting out in the desert.”
It was pretty much love at first sight. Morris had the vehicle shipped back east where Bennett, who does most of the wrench work, took a look at it.
“When I get a vehicle I usually have an idea what I want to do with it,” Morris said. And most of the time Bennett looks at the vehicle and has the same idea, although occasionally he’ll have to tell Morris that he’s nuts.
Not this time. The two got to work and replaced everything except the truck’s body. They dropped in a 472 horsepower engine from a 1968 Cadillac, used a sub-frame from a Mustang, and put in new wiring.
From the outside the vehicle looks like a rusted-out hulk. Pop the hood and you know that this bread truck can really deliver.
Motorcycles will come next
The cars, which included antiques, hot rods, vintage muscle cars, and American and English race cars, are the eye candy that brings the increasing horde of car lovers into the village. But it’s the entry fees for the cars, the sponsorships and the donations that may be the important part of the day. All the money raised, after covering the costs of running the show, go into the Sawyer Motors Automotive Foundation, which supports worthy causes and local residents. This year, the foundation presented a total of $35,000 to various organizations and one local resident.
Money was given to the House for Dogmanity, area Boy Scouts troops, Diaz Ambulance, the Center for Spectrum Services, the ARC of Ulster-Greene, the local Boys & Girls Club and In Flight. The award that had many in the audience in tears was to the Friends of Jeff Madelone, a local man battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
What do you do to top the first 13 years of the Sawyer Motors Car Show? You add motorcycles. Siracusano said motorcycles would be added to the show next year, to be located along the new road behind La Bella Restaurant on Partition Street.
And you also add more music. A band stage will be added where the motorcycles will be located.
It’s a community effort. Siracusano said more than 100 local residents and employees from the car dealership volunteer each year to come out, help set up, monitor, clean up and sell merchandise at the car show. They’re there the day before setting up the stages, the tents and the seating, and then taking everything down as soon as the last trophy is awarded.
The village Department of Public Works makes sure the streets and sidewalks look like there had been no car show. The Saugerties Police Department keeps the car show participants, and crowd safe, as well as shutting down streets and directing traffic.