Large Crowds Attend Manchester's 14<sup>t</sup><sup>h</sup> Annual Cruisin' On Main Street

Bruce Fiedorowicz of Burlington relaxes next to his 1932 Ford Roadmaster Sunday afternoon during the 14th Annual Cruisin' on Main Street. (Marc-Yves Regis)

MANCHESTER — Local residents and people from as far away as Vermont stopped by to showcase and admire different vintage cars at Manchester's 14th annual Cruisin' on Main Street on Sunday.

Approximately 850 different cars and trucks, 25 years or older, were showcased along one mile of Main Street downtown. Forty-five cars were awarded Sponsor's Choice trophies.

Event organizer and downtown manager of the special service district Tana Parseliti said even after organizers postponed the car show due to last weekend's rain, Main Street was filled "top to bottom" with a "very respectable-sized crowd."

Parseliti said after the successful first year in 2001, it was clear that the car show, "historic art on wheels" would be something "close to the hearts of the people of Manchester."

Parseliti said the committee wasn't sure what the turnout would be like in its first year. She said she hoped there would be at least 100 cars, but close to 500 came.

Since then, more than 14,000 vintage cars have been showcased and over 380,000 people have stopped through.

Parseliti said cars have come from different parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and sometimes from Vermont. Parseliti said one year, someone brought a car from France.

"I love hearing people say, 'I took your mother on a date in this car,' or 'This was the first car I bought all by myself,'" Parseliti said. "The memories and attachments people have to their cars bring them together."

One man from Coventry brought his family's restored 1935 Ford woodie station wagon.

Jennison's parents, Sue and Whit Jennison, bought the car in 1952 for $50 after moving into North Canaan. Jennison said his parents saw it on the side of the street.

The woodie was the family's car until the early 60s, when it was put in the family barn for 37 years. After Jennison restored it for his father to showcase at the Daffodil Festival in Nantucket, Mass., he decided to bring it to different car shows throughout the state and sometimes takes it to car shows in Vermont and New York City.

Another car owner, Steven D'Amico showcased his orange 1967 Chevy Chevelle. D'Amico said his father was a mechanic and working on cars was how he made money growing up.

"It's a fun hobby and nice to meet people at different shows," D'Amico said.

Awards were also given to three Cruisin' Main Street committee members for their service: Ed Firestone, one of the event's founders, was given the Founders Award; Frank Parseliti was awarded the John Randy Thrall award; Hope Igdalsky was awarded the Distinguished Service award.

Manchester mayor Jay Moran said it was "a beautiful day to showcase the good of Manchester and enjoy the great community-driven event."

Funds raised from Cruisin' on Main Street will go toward MARC, Inc. of Manchester, a nonprofit organization that offers program and services to people with developmental disabilities.