By Allison Mowatt
A quaint, no-frills car show in the lush country reminds antique car enthusiasts what a classic car show is all about. The Equinunk Historical Society is holding its 13th Annual Classic Car Show on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the residence of Mel Freilich and Karen Raphael on Pine Mill Road in Equinunk. The event is its biggest fundraiser and puts the small rural town on the map every year.
Founded around 1892, Equinunk is located along the Delaware River and is a rustic and relaxing area. With one general store and a post office, this event always draws a crowd of eager classic car fans who look forward to showcasing their antique vehicles in a beautiful village.
The event was spearheaded by Bob Gosman, who lived to restore old vehicles and would discuss with friends Bob Kramer and Don Kaszner his desire to develop a car show in the heart of the village. The three men were driving forces behind implementing the show and getting it off the ground and heavily contributed to its success over the years. The show expanded since its inception in 1999, fast becoming a yearly tradition for people with a passion for classic vehicles. In its first year, there were initially 25 car entrants and no sponsors. Recently, the event broke the record with 150 entrants and up to eleven regular sponsors.
There is free admission for entrants and the public and no registration fees are required. The Historical Society accepts free will donations at the show. “Raising money for the Historical Society is important, but it’s just as important that the show remains fun and affordable,” said Charlie Bennett of the Historical Society. “If the entrants and visitors choose to, they could spend the day at our show and not offer a penny. This, along with the lovely rural setting on a mowed grass field and the Equinunk Creek running along the side of the road, provides a stress free environment that contributes to our success.”
The car show is relatively small compared to others in the area, but its uniqueness caught the eye of a photo journalist from a national car magazine who attended last year. “He enjoyed our event and told us, ‘Don’t change a thing. This is how car shows used to be before they got too big’,” said Mr. Bennett.
The show is open to all makes, models, and years. The lawn is dotted with a variety of hot rods, classics, and antiques. Many types of vehicles make an appearance ranging from a re-furbished British double-decker bus to a tiny BMW Isetta. There are also restored Mack trucks, antique farm tractors, and motorcycles. Many of the registrants hail from Wayne County and Delaware County in New York, but people travel farther distances as well, including from Binghamton, New York and parts of New Jersey.
There is no judging program at this charming car show, but there is a People’s Choice winner where everyone gets to vote for their favorite car. In addition, the organizers present two awards to whomever they feel deserves one, and they hand out goody bags to the first 100 entrants. There are also door prizes, food, and beverage sales, a craft and flea market, book and bake sales.
Committee members dedicate themselves to making each year’s event the best one yet. Classic car fans enjoy this small, simple car show so much that they usually return each year. Word of mouth spreads, and the Equinunk Historical Society always welcomes new faces and cars. “We are still the biggest little car show in Wayne County,” said Mr. Bennett. “We take a lot of pride in our event.”
The Equinunk Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization and is home to the Calder Museum and Calder Corner Shop. It is a registered Historic Site, and the Society promotes the Museum, as well as the Joel Hill Water-Powered Sawmill. For more information about the Historical Society and the Car Show, call (570) 224-6722, visit www.equinunkhistory.org or email ehs22@Verizon.net.