Bill Townsend (Oct 2016)
A very familiar car and driver to everyone in the valley was the gold Ford Torino with Bill Townsend at the wheel. Bill ordered the car just the way he wanted it and never let it go. We lost Bill on October 29th following a sudden health issue a couple of weeks earlier. We will remember him as a guy who really enjoyed the hobby and tried to encourage others to participate with their old cars. He attended most of the local cruise nights regularly and took home lots of trophies at the car shows. Bill was a carpenter by trade and was also active in the model train hobby. Dave Laplante (Oct 2016)
Another familiar face at local car events will be missing, as Dave Laplante of Westfield passed away on Sunday October 9th. He usually appeared with his beautiful 1953 yellow Ford convertible, but sometimes drove a blue Corvette. Always friendly with a great sense of humor, Dave was a "regular" at our weekly cruise nights until we moved a couple of years ago"Doc Hudson" drops in (Sept 2015)
On September 2nd, Jerre Hoffman brought a special car to our Wednesday cruise night. This 1951 Hudson sedan belongs to the Hudson Historical Society and is making its way across the country. Since Jerre is a longtime member of the club, he had the honor of driving the car here from Indiana - it will soon be featured at the Springfield Transportation Museum. After a short visit there, the old Hudson will participate at the Hemmings Concours show later in the month. The car was painted to look like one of the characters from the movie "Cars" and has been well received everywhere it has appeared. Folks at our cruise night seemed to enjoy checking it out and a couple of kids were really excited to see the "real thing". New Location for Red Rock Cruisers (April 2015)
Beginning in April, our cruise nights will be held at the Summit View Cafe in Holyoke, MA. This location includes a large pavilion, rest rooms, on-site food and drink, easy access, and ample parking. We'll have the usual oldies music, weekly raffle, and such - but there will also be the shade and shelter of the pavilion, picnic tables, a variety of menu items, and a cash bar. We hope to see all our old friends and look forward to meeting a lot of new ones as we settle in to our new digs. See you there!
Red Harris (Aug 2014)
On August 26th we lost another friend and fellow cruiser. "Red" Harris of Easthampton passed away at the age of 78 at a Veterans hospital. Most recently, Red drove a 1940 Chevy street rod, painted a light maroon with a silver-blue stripe on each side (it was later painted flat black). Red was a familiar face at most of the old car events in the area and was active in several groups such as the Road Rebels and the Red Rock Cruisers. Over the years Red owned several interesting cars and if often remembered with his Chevy truck from the 1930's which had wooden boxes in the back for displaying produce. His presence will be missed and hopefully he'll be remembered fondly by everyone in the cruisin' community.
Westfield Cruisers Mid-Winter Blues Cruise - 2010 - Gary Francis and his friends put together another enjoyable party at the Westfield Elks Lodge on Sunday afternoon, March 14th. Old friends gathered at the tables surrounding the dance floor and enjoyed drinks and snacks while they visited. All the while the Chinese Raffle was under way with two tables full of prizes. Gary kept the music going and several people stepped out to dance until several pizzas arrived for dinner. Many who attended also donated a variety of yummy desserts to share and there were plenty of them! Nobody went hungry and more than a few diets were broken. In addition to awarding the raffle prizes to the lucky winners, fifty percent of the raffle proceeds were given away as well. It was a great time to catch up with everyone and find out about the upcoming crusin' season.
RRC visits Wingate (August 10, 2013)
The weather was perfect for our visit to the Wingate Healthcare Facility in West Springfield on Saturday, August 10th. We were asked to bring our old cars for the folks at Wingate to enjoy and many of our cruisin' buddies responded. The residents and staff came out into the warm sunshine to revel in the splendor of the antique and custom vehicles on display as they recalled some old car memories. We handed out ice cream treats to everyone and even played a little oldies music to make things a bit more festive. Our two hour visit was a welcome change in their routine and one fellow said he hadn't been out front for about two years - yup, old cars will do it every time. It was great to see such a large turnout to make this event such a big success.
Dennis Girouard We lost our good friend, Dennis Girouard, while he was continuing his fight against cancer. Dennis was a "fixture" at our Wednesday night cruises, usually with his silver '28 Chevy or his old Buick. Quiet-spoken and friendly, he was an enthusiastic "old car guy" who really enjoyed our hobby and was always willing to help with setting up or anything else that needed doing. It just won't be the same without him. Raymond Troie (Nov 28, 2011)
Ray Troie, the AMX guy, passed away recently at the age of 58. He regularly attended the local car shows and cruise night events. Ray was always happy to chat about his collection of AMX's and usually drove around in his red, white, and blue edition.
Dave Yarmesky (Nov 21, 2011)
Our friend, "Pontiac Dave" passed away on Monday, after struggling with health issues for a number of years. Dave was born in 1940, the same year as his favorite car - the red and black 1940 Pontiac street rod known as the "Tin Indian". He and his car were "regulars" at all the local car shows and cruise nights for many years. Dave really enjoyed the local old car scene, especially the time spent cruisin' with friends. Those of us who knew him can truly appreciate the joy and fulfillment he derived from the hobby and how much he enjoyed his special "ride". There aren't too many old Pontiacs like that one around and there sure aren't very many guys like Dave - he will be missed.
Wheels & Whiskers Car Show - 2011
After numerous rain delays, the 5th annual Wheels and Whiskers car show finally was held on Sunday October 16th at Mestek Field in Westfield. Nearly one hundred show cars turned out for this very important fund raising event for the Homeless Cat Project. There were a number of different raffles, games for kids, oldies music, food and drink, and even a tag sale to help make the event successful. Trophies were awarded to the "Top 25" and best of show, as well as a few special awards. Hats off to the Westfield Cruisers and all the volunteers for their hard work and determination - no doubt the cats will appreciate it!Southwick Cruise-Nights The "Forever Young Cruisers" hold their weekly cruise nights on Saturday evenings in Southwick, MA. Their events used to be held at Gillette Corner on Rte 10, but moved when things changed at the mini-mall. They meet right on the shores of the Comgamond Lakes and cruisers can enjoy dining at Jimmy's Pizza at the same location. Each week you'll meet a group of local folks who attend regularly and a number of others who travel a bit to participate. There's a weekly raffle and a some special events during the year to help out local charities and such. For many years, their season wraps up with a big Halloween party featuring a "pot luck" feast of great food brought by everyone to share.
Agawam Car Show visited by "Voice of Fenway" (July 31, 2011)
The 4th Annual Jaime Rivera Benefit Car Show, held at the Agawam High School had a special visitor stop by to help out. Carl Beane , the voice of Fenway Park (and Agawam native) was on hand to meet everyone and share some of the announcing and award presentation duties. Anyone who's been to Fenway Park in the last several years has certainly heard Carl over the public address system. He brought his two World Series rings along and invited folks to try them on and have their photo taken - how cool is that? Carl also walked around the field meeting and chatting with everyone. The car show was a great success, despite the summer heat and very little shade. The proceeds will be shared with the Shriners Childrens Hospital and Racing Against Cancer. The car show was organized by the "Friends of Jaime Rivera" as a way to honor his memory and help in the fight against cancer. The Red Rock Cruisers provided the sound system and music for the day and many of our "regulars" participated with their old cars.N.E. Chev/GMC Show Relocates (May 25, 2011)
Due to changes at Wendell State Park, the annual truck show held August 5 - 7th has found a new site. Just down the road from the park is the Diemand Farm, part of which is a reclaimed hay field that was once the Mormon Hollow Junk Yard and that's where the show will be this year. The three-day event will again feature camping, live bands, poker run, and even a chicken BBQ dinner. This year marks the 30th year of their show and they're hoping for a big turnout. Check the "fliers" page for all the details and make plans to visit the show, even if you don't have a GM truck.
Local Cruise Night Changes (May 21, 2011)
The cruisin' season is upon us and there have been a few changes. On Mondays, the Atkins cruise nights have been canceled for the year due to major road construction there. The cruise nights that were held at the Hadley Young Men's Club last year on Tuesdays have changed their event to Mondays, at least for this year (starting May 30). The Thursday night cruises at the Florence Elks should get going in early June and the Friday cruise nights in Agawam are back at Dave's. There's also a new cruise night on Fridays and Saturdays at Tom's Hot Dogs in Whately. All of these changes are also noted on our list of local shows.
Antique Truck Show (May 1, 2011)
The local chapter of the Antique Truck Club of America held their seventh annual show in So.Deerfield on Sunday, May 1st. There were lots of old trucks on display and most of them were BIG. There was a great variety of makes and models representing trucks from the early 1920's through the 1980's. The show was held at Pelican Products (formerly Hardig Industries) which provided plenty of display room and parking as well. This event has been growing and growing, so be sure to make a note of it for next year.New Cruise Night !
There's a new cruise night starting up on Friday May 20th at Tom's Hot Dogs in Whately, MA. They are located right on Rte 5, very close to an entrance ramp for I-91 (61 State Rd) . Tom's has been a favorite stop for many motorists over the years and they've recently expanded their menu and added an enclosed area in the front for year-round service. There is supposed to be a cruise night on both Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00 - 8:00 and they plan to run it through Labor Day weekend.Photo taken July 1, 2011 (click on photo to enlarge)
Charles Elliott (October 20, 2010)
Another of our old cruisin' buddies has passed away. "Charlie" Elliott will always be remembered by us as the guy who drove the light blue 1950 Plymouth and worried everyone each time he backed into a parking place. We were so concerned that he might hit something, but he never did. Charlie attended our cruise nights faithfully for many years until both his health and the car's condition started to fail. Even after the old Plymouth was too much for him, Charlie often came with his brother and nephew (Dean Elliott, our food vendor). Charlie often remarked how grateful he was to us for holding the weekly cruise nights - it gave him the opportunity to show off his car and he loved to chat with everyone. At a recent car show in Northampton, he was honored with a special award and learned that they would be naming a special trophy in his honor to be given at future shows for the best original, un-restored car. He was very proud that day and happy that his old car had been appreciated. George Hicks (Sept 29, 2010)
One of the more familiar faces at our cruise nights will be missing, as George Hicks passed away on Wednesday September 29th. George proudly drove his Oldsmobiles to all the local cruise nights and car shows and rightly so ... the big blue 1960 convertible is beautiful inside and out and his 1950 fastback "hot rod" is an awesome blend of beauty and power.
George and his wife Nancy worked for many years in their trim shop creating and restoring interiors for hot rods, customs, antiques, and even boats. He also had a keen interest in early rock & roll music and enjoyed playing his vast collection of 45's on his vintage jukebox. George was eager to share this music with us for our cruise nights and provided many of his original records to be digitally recorded. You'll often hear some of those wonderful old recordings at our Wednesday night get-togethers.
Jacob's Ladder Trail Centennial (Sept 25, 2010)
On a September day in 1910 a crowd of people gathered to celebrate the opening of the newly completed roadway known as the Jacob's Ladder Trail. The "trail" is a section of route 20 that winds through the towns of Russell, Huntington, Chester, Becket, and Lee. Over the years the road has been steadily improved and remains a main thoroughfare for the hilltowns. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Jacob's Ladder Trail, a special event was held at the same site where the opening took place - where a stone monument now stands. The organizers sought to have some old cars on hand to represent the many vehicles served by road all these years. Indeed, there were several antique cars present - everything from the earliest days and right on through the 1960's. There were a number of Red Rock Cruiser "regulars" there in addition to old car owners from nearby towns and even a few from out of state. A special service of speeches, poetry, music, and stories of the old road was held under a large tent. One of the true highlights, however, was the wonderful array of antique cars. Everyone seemed to enjoy looking them over and taking pictures. The monument consists of a number of stones brought to the original opening ceremonies from surrounding towns and other markers to remember those involved with the project. A new stone was recently added to mark this latest bit of history - the 100th year of serving the motorists of western Massachusetts. Cruise Night - Sept 15, 2010
We had a couple of special things occur at this particular cruise night ... Dave Arrighi brought down his new "motorized outhouse" for everyone to see and we also celebrated Ryan's third birthday (Ryan is Jeff Dingman's little boy).
Everyone enjoyed Dave's latest creation and some even took turns posing inside or driving it around the lot - a real traffic stopper. He's taken his interest in small tractors to a new level and created a clever and humorous way to have fun.
The other special event was a small birthday celebration for our youngest "cruiser", Ryan. He's been coming to our cruise nights with his dad for his entire life - even before he was born - when his mom was expecting and she accompanied Jeff in his Nova. Ryan is a real trooper and really enjoys doing things with his dad. We presented him with a special cupcake and a few gifts. His eyes lit right up and he was smiling ear to ear ... until we started to sing.
Apparently, a bunch of people singing "Happy Birthday" (well sort of singing) is a scary thing to a three year old and he started to cry. But, he brightened right up again when it was over and he thanked everyone with hugs all around. The Red Rock Cruisers weekly cruise-nights will continue through September and even into the first part of October. We may or may not have the "comfort station" available and our food vendor will not be required to be on hand after Sept 29th. But, for those of us who hang on 'til the bitter end, it's a good reason to get out the old car and do a little more cruising for the year. Join us!
Cool Cars & Hot Air Balloons (Sept 10, 2010)
Look Park in Northampton kicked off a very special weekend of hot air balloon events on Friday evening with a "Sunset Balloon Glow" and cruise-night. Several local "cruisers" were on hand for the fun, food, and music which preceded the main event. As the sun was setting in the west and darkness descended, a whole row of balloons began to rise as giant fans filled them with air. As they grew taller and taller, an occasional burst of light from a gas burner illuminated them from within and before long all of them were filled and standing tall.
What a sight when the entire group fired their burners and the balloons lit up like light brightly colored bulbs. Thanks to the folks at Look Park and theirs sponsors for inviting us to participate - it was a night to remember!
The balloons were scheduled to take off the next day for an early morning flight and then return to the festival. On Sunday, the Northampton Lions Club hosted their annual car show at the park to round out the weekend.
New Mass.Law for "special" cars (Aug 19, 2010)
A new law now exists in Massachusetts that should make things a little easier for owners of street rods, customs, replicas, and the like to get their vehicles titled and registered. This new law (H.B.4871) creates new classifications for these special cars, which should solve the confusion that arises when trying make them legal. A street rod is defined as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom is an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and built after 1948. There are guidelines for replicas and specially constructed vehicles too. This time they passed a law that actually helps the old car hobby!
Holyoke Soldiers Home (May 29,2010)
The cruise-night started last year by Mr.Ray Elton at the Holyoke Soldiers Home was being planned for 2010 as early as last fall. This low-key affair was organized to benefit the residents by providing an opportunity to enjoy the old cars and have a hot dog or two out in the fresh air. Unfortunately, Ray passed away before the season got started and it looked like their cruise nights were over. However, a few employees and their friends felt that Mr. Elton had started something important and meaningful and wanted to see it continue. They decided to not only continue the cruise nights, but to build on last year's efforts
and grow it into something bigger and better.
The "Four Fat Guys Car Club" along with Soldiers Home staff and friends held their first monthly cruise night on Saturday, May 29th. In spite of rain earlier in the day, many local "cruisers" showed up and enjoyed a perfect summer evening of old cars, visiting, reasonable food prices, and a short raffle. They also enjoyed sharing their "special rides" with the veterans who live at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. The cruise-nights will be held on the last Saturday of the month over the summer. Make a note to join them at the next event - they'll really appreciate it.
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EASTER IN HOLYOKE (2010) - For the last few years, folks in Holyoke, Massachusetts have been trying to revive an old local tradition known as "Walking the Drag". The odd sounding term refers to when people leaving church on Easter Sunday, dressed in their new spring clothes, would stroll up and down the street as sort of a fashion parade. It soon became a social event each year for both men and women and provided a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy a warm spring day with their neighbors. Apparently, the word "drag" relates to the fact that the stretch of Northampton St where many of the churches are located was known as the "main drag".
Nowadays the event features an old car display, the Easter Bunny and a giant hot dog from Nick's Nest, vendors, and even a parade. The fire station next door to Nick's Nest displayed their fire engines and joined in the fun too. This year's perfect weather really brought out the crowds and everyone seemed to have a great time. Our hat's off to Bill Sutter and the folks he worked with to restore this truly "Holyoke" tradition. Hopefully, this year's success will help generate more interest and make the next one even better!