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Ready to roll: car shows in the area, cruise-ins in full swing

Now that the weather is getting warmer, a cruise at the local car shows is a cheap date. Almost every day or evening of the week through September, everyone is different. The daily spoke to a handful of the many out there.

“People like to go out for dinner,” said Artie Rumrill, who runs the auto and truck show at Johnstown’s Pizza Hut. “It’s a night to get out.”

Rumrill has been held every other Friday of the month for the past eight years and said he gets all kinds of cars or trucks from every year. And there’s no fee to be on the show.

“Why recharge when you’ve put all your money into building,” he said. “On a good night, I had up to 100 cars – new cars, old cars, or even drive-bys.”

Rumrill himself is no stranger to auto shows.
“I won an award for one of the top 50 favorites at the Lake George Show with my 35cc International Truck and this year I’m bringing my 65 Pontiac Catalina,” he said.

Rumrill gives five chicken wings to each participant. And there are trophies a friend makes in Mayfield and a 50/50 raffle.


PJ’s Bar-B-QSA in Saratoga Springs offers a cruise every Tuesday evening, weather permitting.

“It was my idea 20 years ago,” said PJ Davis, owner of the restaurant.

It quickly became so popular that Davis asked longtime friend Don Williams to help organize it. Although the show only allows cars until 1990, there are about 15 “regulars” showing up each week, and there is still “a little bit of everything,” said Williams, sometimes members from various car clubs.

“It’s like bringing back old memories,” he said. “Even barbecuing is kind of a throwback to the 1950s and 1960s. On a good night we get about 30 cars. “

There’s no registration fee, but PJ’s do offer a 5 percent discount coupon for groceries. There are no judges, but there are door prizes for gift certificates provided by local sponsors. And every week, funds are raised for a different charity. There is also music by DJ Dr. Doowop.

Harbor House Fish Fry

If it’s Thursday night, check out Cruise the Harbor in Clifton Park. The Adirondack Shelby-Mustang Club has hosted this event for 15 years and is participating in the Metro Ford of Schenectady show on August 15th this year, Club President Walt Dugan said: “We can get up to 100 cars if the weather allows it allows. “He said.” It’s packed and parked a certain way. Everything … Even bikes or Cadillac Club or Corvette Club members come as trailers. We mix everything. It’s a great variety. “

There is no fee and attendees receive a 10 percent discount voucher for the Harbor House Fish Fry restaurant.

“People go in and out to eat – the restaurant is famous for its fish roast. People come out to drive and take a look. And in the last 10 years we have had a lot of people who just love to show off their cars. . . like the brand new Mustangs. These are high horsepower – up to $ 150,000. But they like to come in and hang out and compare stories, ”Dugan said.

Dugan himself owns three cars: a 1966 Mustang, a 1991 Mustang convertible, and a 1956 Ford.

There are door prices that are primarily intended for the automotive industry. a 50/50 raffle with funds for the Make a Wish Foundation; and music.

And as the show has grown each year, so has its club: from 50 families in 1985 when it was founded to 100 families now. But the show is the thing.

“It is what we do. We go to other shows, support a charity. It’s a night, ”said Dugan.

Clifton Park Elks

While these shows do not charge a registration fee and are mostly not age-specific, there are several shows that meet both criteria. On May 29th, the Clifton Parks Elks will host an automobile-only exhibition between 1975 and 2021. Up to 36 trophies will be awarded and the proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will go to the Elks Scholarship Fund. There is an entry fee of $ 15.

Saratoga Automobile Museum

The Saratoga Automobile Museum at Saratoga Spa State Park sponsors shows every Saturday from June through September with a raindate on Sunday.

Many shows have trophies, plaques, a 50/50 raffle, a DJ, and food trucks. Some shows are model-specific, such as the June 5th show for Cadillac and Buick owners or the June 12th show for “Supercars”.

“We’d expect about 20 McClaren sports cars, possibly some Ferraris or Lamborghinis, some special factory orders,” said Megan Hennessey, special events director. “Everyone thinks their car is a super car. But they are all wonderful. “

Some classic car auctions are also planned for the summer. Due to COVID restrictions, fewer cars than usual are allowed on the shows and all “drive-ins” are set up through a club.

“We can only have up to 500 people, or about one or two people per car, so that means about 200 to 250 cars,” Hennessey said. “Lawn shows typically have 40 to 150 cars.”

Although the entry fee is $ 15 (viewers are free), the museum grants all attendees free entry to the museum, which opened in 2002 with the aim of celebrating the automobile from both an educational and a technical perspective.

A special show, which is free for the spectators in the park on June 19, is the Antique Automobile Club of the Eastern Spring Nationals in America with the title “Horses to Horsepower”, which is presented in cooperation with the Charity Motor Club. AACA, a worldwide organization, was founded in 1935 and is based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This is the first time the show has taken place in Saratoga Springs, possibly because the AACA club chapter was founded in 2017 and currently has around 80 members.

“We expect up to 300 cars on a judged show,” said Tom Walsh, the president of the AACA. “The show has a lot of history and the awards are coveted. If you get a senior car with first place, you can get up to 400 points. Many people strive for it. “

The cars may not be older than the 1990s, but the 125 judges, all of whom have been trained and certified, will be particularly concerned with the older cars, some of which are from the “Brass Era”. These are cars that were built between 1896 and 1915 and had several brass fittings.

“They can be spectacular and are worth more than $ 1 million,” said Walsh. “But we’re not so much looking for spectators as we are looking for these cars to be judged. These are very serious collectors. Many have multiple cars. “

Adirondack Nationals on Lake George

The biggest show in the region is the Adirondack Nationals on Lake George, which will take place from September 9th to 12th this year. It is the group’s 32nd show.

“Registration is already closed, but we expect up to 1,500 cars with a gate that will run 10,000 or more,” said Steve Farina, PR. “It’s the only show we do all year round, so it’s quite an endeavor. Most of the owners are from the northeast, but due to COVID we don’t know about the Canada quota yet. “

This may not compare to the Syracuse Nationals Show, which takes place July 16-18 this year at the state fairgrounds, which has seen up to 8,000 cars and trucks and 90,000 people in attendance over the past few years. But the Lake George Show is big enough.

“The planning is done internally with 30 people and volunteers in conjunction with the mayor’s office and the sheriff’s department,” he said.
Part of it has to do with crowd control and the fact that the show’s cars drive up and down Canada Street on Friday and Saturday nights, where thousands gape in pleasure.

“People have a thing for old cars. We pick the 50 favorites that grandpa or an owner had as a kid, ”said Farina. “Everyone likes to talk about their cars.”

Farina herself has two cars, both 1962 Fords. In fact, they were the reason he bought his current home.

“I saw this four car garage and that was it. The agent asked if I wanted to see the house and I said no, I would see enough, ”he said with a laugh.

Although there is a $ 15 entry fee, the entry fee is valid for the entire festival. There are sponsors who sponsor certain trophies, but they also pay for advertising and publish a book that is like a magazine as a souvenir program for all participants, Farina said. And the show makes up to $ 10,000 in donation to a charity and college automotive studies foundation.

“Somebody has to know how to fix these cars. It’s space technology now, ”he said.

With the show also a few months away, he said he wasn’t worried about the removal requirements.

“The Broadway shows are supposed to be 100 percent busy, so I don’t see a problem with the show being out,” he said.

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