Elks rev up car show season

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It’s car show season and with that, of course, comes two ugly words – weather permitting – organizers totally dislike.

There are shows – or cruises as some car events are called – at various locations throughout the state.

However, one car show, which last Thursday opened its fourth season, is totally unique from others that host vintage vehicles and in some cases motorcycles.

And that’s the Tri-City Elks Car Show that will be held every Thursday – weather permitting – through October from 5 to 8 p.m. in Rossi Park, which is located in the back of Lodge 14 on West Short Road in Warwick.

What’s different about the Elks’ event?

There’s never an admission fee, and as people like Wayne Larned will tell you, “It’s a great community event where you can get a beer at our Tiki Bar and a burger and see some of the most beautiful cars of yesteryear. You’ll also meet some nice people, too.”

Moreover, there’s music and merriment provided by Rob Caramante, who former Tri-City Exalted Ruler Mark Eaton – who founded the car classic four years ago during his rebirth of Lodge 14 – “has been with me ever since we started and he volunteers his time and talent.”

There’s several other “only at the Tri-Cit Elks” elements, like when car owners arrive Gene Cahoon, a.k.a. the Tri-City Elks Car Show Guru, greets each one wearing his famous hat and chewing his cigar and hands the driver a red ticket.

Red ticket?

“That’s for our weekly drawing of the best car of the night,” Cahoon offered. “We have a lottery drawing … tonight, my grandson picked the picked the car of the night simply by reaching his hand into a bucket and pulling out a ticket.”

So, after young Jayden Cahoon, 6, picked that ticket Gene Cahoon announced that Neil Laudon – who brought his 1979 Z-28 Camaro to Lodge 14’s first seasonal show – the Cahoons presented him with a beautiful plaque,

There’s yet another fact about the Elks’ car show, as all or most cars are allowed to park on the well-manicured green grass that surrounds Rossi Park and its famous Golden Pond.

“We don’t mind people parking on our lawn,” mused Nick Rossi, for whom the park is named and maintains the grounds with his new riding lawnmower. “We have a beautiful place here and hosting this car show is one great way to show it off.”

Perhaps it’s the “over the hill gang” that speaks volumes about the popularity of the Tri-City Elks Car Show.

“We get here around 3:00 or 3:30 and put out our chairs,” said “Spuzzy”, who owns a beautiful 937 Ford. To which Ron Arpin, owner of a 1966 Chevy pick-up truck, added, “the sausage and pepper sandwiches are great; tonight they sold out after only the first hour.”

The menu, which volunteer Chef Sam Bugbee and co-cooks Tricia Moore and Debi Hamilton, who recently retired from the U.S. Coast guard, cook to order each and every Thursday evening; weather permitting, of course!

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