Charitable cruisers

Again this year, the weather cooperated for the Lake Shore Street Rod Association’s annual Harbor Cruise on Sunday. The event was held at Point Gratiot from noon to 5 p.m.

Around noon, the going was slow at the entrance into the Point. A variety of cars – hot rods, tuner cars, race cars,trucks and antique cars – were lined up to get into the event. In addition there were people in cars that were not being exhibited who just wanted to look at the cars in the park area, listen to the music, and buy from the vendors.

Proceeds from the event are donated to local charities. This year the beneficiaries are Hailey’s Honeys (for the Arthritis Foundation) and Hospice.

Kenny Doepp, a spokesperson for the Lake Shore Street Rods, said, “Over the years we have donated more than $30,000 to local charities.”

He was pleased with the weather and the number of participants. He said, “There are between 400 and 500 cars here.”

While he was speaking, event staff members were directing more participants into the parking areas.

Tom Kwiatkowski, another organizer, said, “I think it will be over 500.”

A black 1957 Chevrolet Bel Aire was displayed with its trunk open. Inside the trunk were several trophies and plaques showing its success at other cruise-ins including the 2013 Darien Lake car show. In addition, the display contained an owner’s manual for the vehicle and a mechanic’s manual, both in pristine condition.

Robert and Kay Ryczko from Dunkirk sat near their red 2006 Corvette with a vanity license “Ryczko.” There were a number of Corvettes parked here and there among the cars.

Josh Duffy from Frewsburg was taking time to clean his 1969 Chevrolet pickup truck while his daughter Khloe, 18 months, and his wife Crystal were under a shade tent.

Duffy said, “I bought the truck as a graduation (from high school) present to myself in 2003. This is the first cruise of the year for me.”

He said he has worked on it when time and money permits, but “kids come along.”

Richard and Lynn Covelli of Eden were sitting next to their red 1957 Pontiac Sharchief. As many of the cars from the late 1950s, it had distinctive “fins.”

Richard said, “I finished this car three or four years ago. I redid the whole car top to bottom.”

He explained that he had contacts in Arizona which help him find parts. He has redone six cars.

Jim and Gloria Hayes from Westfield were near Jim’s dark green 1965 Ford Mustang. Jim said the car came from California. It was owned by one family, and Jim said through number matching, the paint was redone to the original color. The car was the “Best of Show” at the event held at Crossroads near Westfield.

His wife Gloria owns a 1965 Thunderbird that is her car, but currently it needs some repair.

She said, “We don’t go on vacation. Our car is our fun.”

Food vendors did a brisk business, and music from the 50s and 60s drifted across the park. The crowd enjoyed the music provided by Sammy Slicker and DJ Mustang Bob.

Both Doepp and Kwiatkowski wanted to thank officials from the city of Dunkirk for their help, including the mayor, the Parks Department, and Streets Department, the vendors and those donating door prizes. The Lake Shore Street Rods Association also donates a door prize each year.

They also thanked participants and the members of the public who come out for the event.

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