The eyes of those walking Main and Partition Street will be snagged on the bright matte and metallic paint jobs of hot rods from the past, from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday July 8. Many will have been driven from outside state lines. The proprietor of the largest car dealership in town, Bob Siracusano, is equally acclaimed for his bottomless generosity. His idea for the Sawyer Motors car show, entering its 15th iteration on the weekend, started with a passing observation on a road trip through Schenectady County with a friend in 2002.
“We were coming from the Lake George Car Show [when] I see signs saying there’s another car show two miles up the road,” said Siracusano. “My friend and I decide to go to that car show after spending a long weekend at the previous car show. When arriving at the village of Scotia, we noticed that they were parking their cars on their best streets that they had. They also had a band, all the restaurants were open, the bars were open — everyone was having a blast. After seeing all that I thought ‘wow, this thing would really work in the village of Saugerties, how am I going to pull things off.’ “
He approached then-Mayor Bob Yerick about the feasibility of the idea, and 15 years later the spectacle has expanded to include seven bands, over 500 cars, more than 50 awards each year, the second year of a motorcycle category in the lot by Bella Luna, over 100 volunteers, nationwide fame, over 14,000 new visitors last year and over $400,000 donated within the Saugerties community by the Sawyer Motors Auto Foundation. Siracusano said that the goal of the show was always to bring an economic boon for village businesses.
“From day one, I always had in the back of my mind that we didn’t want to allow vendors,” said Siracusano. “I don’t want any vendors at my show — I want the people who have their shops in the village to have a better day. Why would I want to bring a hotdog cart when you have three or four different businesses in town that sell hot dogs. Let’s create something that all the businesses and small shops would benefit from. “
Members of local car clubs have been enlisted by Siracusano to dole out prizes, including one for the “most original” car, the best hot rod and best custom vehicle; six teams of two will scour the village for the most eye-catching vehicles. If you didn’t register, you can still be a winner; the Centerville Cedar Grove Fire Department will be raffling off a 2018 Jeep Cherokee. Tickets for the raffle are $10 for one, three for $25, 7 for $50 or 16 for $100 and can be purchased at the event’s main stage the day of the event or in advance at Sawyer Motors.
“Anyone that has anything to do with antique cars loves this,” said Jim Brocko of the Dutchess Cruisers Car Club in Poughkeepsie.
A 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier van, which was in the possession of the Malden West Camp Fire Company and used as an emergency vehicle until 1987, will also be joining the ranks of street-parked cars. It’s owner, antique car collector Steve Spilatro from Marietta, Ohio, purchased the vehicle in Florida two years ago before piecing together its history.
“For the last two years I’ve been doing a complete ‘ground up’ restoration — it’s pretty much returned to its original condition,” said Spilatro. “I’m bringing it back home for the car show and a visit to the fire company.”
Lights Out, the Hotrod Band, the locally renowned Paul Luke Band, The Oldies Show, Roadhouse, Greyhounds and Cherished Memories will be playing on stages set up by Mirabella’s, Stella’s, Bella Luna, the Reese Lot, the Exchange and a new stage at the Stewarts Shop.
“I’m going to bring 15,000 people here,” said Siracusano. “The goal is that every restaurant on Main and Partition Streets has their best day of the year.”
The Sawyer Motors car show will be held in the center of the village on Main & Partition streets from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, July 8. Admission is free.