WESTFIELD - A ritual that signifies winter's conclusion takes place each spring, once the Western New York roadways have been cleared of their snow and salt.
One by one, classic and antique cars are taken out of hibernation and are seen cruising our streets and highways. The sighting of classic cars causes heads to turn, and observers to shout, "Hey, nice car." Sometimes they even flash the ultimate sign of approval by giving a thumbs up. Indeed, these gestures generate well-earned self-esteem for the owners who put forth a considerable effort in restoring these beauties.
The classic car season and related events is an important part of Western New York's celebration of summer. Car clubs exist to accommodate the diversity of all makes and models of classic cars. These machines range from grandpa's old Model T, the 50s vehicles dressed in two-tone pastels, glitzy trim and fins, to the 60s and 70s muscle cars, with the mighty roar of their high-performance engines.
Pictured are Cross Roads Market venders Ingrid, Sandy, Ginger, Dorothy, Evelyn, Gerry, Gloria, Joann in high gear for “Cruise Against Hunger” with a 1939 LaSalle owned by Michael Ceci.
Besides grouping together to participate in car shows and cruise-ins, another common objective of car clubs is the opportunity to give back to the community.
As a co-founder and member of Southern Tier Classic Chevy Club (STCCC) of Jamestown since the early 90s, Michael Ceci said he has been involved with events that have proven how the old car hobby can attract significant numbers of participants and spectators and ultimately raise funds for worthwhile causes.
STCCC's annual sponsorship of an October cruise-in held in conjunction with The Peek 'n Peak Resort's Fall Festival Weekend has become one of the largest gatherings of classic cars in southwestern New York. As one of the last flings before the old cars go back into hibernation, this show attracts over 600 vehicles from the Tri-State Area. Profits generated from this show are designated yearly to assist Erie's Shriners Hospital for Children.
"This is a terrific example of holding a fun-filled event to assist the less fortunate, and could serve as a model for other organizations to hold similar events," Ceci said.
Sharing a deep concern about the worldwide hunger situation, and in particular, the ever- increasing demand to serve the hungry of Chautauqua County, representatives from Food Bank of WNY and Cross Roads Market met during March to share thoughts and ideas for hosting a summer benefit cruise-in/car show.
As the result of these joint efforts, The Cruise Against Hunger will take place on Saturday, Aug. 18, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market, 6017 Sherman-Westfield Road, just four miles south of Westfield.
Profits earned from this event will be designated for The Food Bank of WNY, the Region's largest hunger relief agency, serving the needs of the hungry throughout Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara Counties.
With a vast number of WNY classic car related events held each summer, plans were developed to aggressively promote the Cruise Against Hunger by reaching out to classic car enthusiasts and clubs throughout Western New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada, urging them to consider this as a must attend event.
Besides spreading awareness of Food Bank's mission to feed the hungry, promotion of the event would focus on showcasing the unique features of the Westfield area, and in particular Cross Roads, the venue of the show.
The history of Cross Roads in itself is quite interesting. The first settlement in what is now Chautauqua County was the Cross Roads located along the Portage Trail between Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake.
Sited in the beautiful rural hills south of historic Westfield, Cross Roads visitors are delighted with incredible panoramic views from its 23-acres that overlook Lake Erie and two valleys at the start of the Allegheny Plateau.
"Many in today's hectic society seek the tranquility experienced by a visit to Cross Roads," Ceci said.
An active Co-op since 1995, Cross Roads is a unique place to shop, and features several individual vendors known for their crafts, artwork, woodwork, imported gifts, unique collectibles, foodstuffs, candy, coffee, and hand-made clothing. And the little cafes have made-from-scratch specialties.
For those who wish to make this a weekend event, Cross Roads is located within close proximity to Lake Erie Wine County, Chautauqua Institution, and the many natural and historical aspects of Westfield NY.
The Cruise Against Hunger promises to offer a bit of something for everyone. Show-day events will include a musical celebration as a tribute to the 50s, 60s, and 70s, a delicious rib-fest/chicken barbecue, contests, door prizes, trophies, and much more.
Cross Roads, with its vast wide open spaces, affords car clubs traveling from near and far the opportunity to bring their classics to The Cruise Against Hunger to celebrate a mid-summer's Saturday together with their families and fellow classic car enthusiasts.
On a first come, first serve basis, car clubs that pre-register may reserve adequate space for their club member's cars and families. Participants should consider packing a picnic, bringing their lawn chairs, and setting up their canopies to take advantage of all that Cross Roads offers.
Surrounded with natural scenic beauty, Cross Roads also offers substantial parking areas on elevated dry ground for displaying the classic cars.
The complex also includes a pond, a covered picnic pavilion, and restroom facilities. Permanent vender booths are situated inside three large buildings, and on the day of the show, venders and exhibits will be positioned outdoors throughout the grounds.
The Cruise Against Hunger has united our region in working together to assure the success of this event. Local businesses that have made donations as show sponsors as of this writing include: Shults Auto Group of Westfield; G&P Gynecare, PC; Forbes Farms; and Precious Possessions.
Bundled with the main event, the Village of Westfield is currently completing plans for Saturday Night in the Park that will begin at 5 p.m., after the conclusion of The Cruise Against Hunger. Details may be found at villageofwestfield.org
Pre-registration is $7 per vehicle, and admission at the gate is $10 per vehicle. Spectators will be admitted free. However, monetary donations, as well as the donation of non-perishable food items would be appreciated. Donation cartons and food barrels are currently set-up at Cross Roads, and will be in place throughout the season that runs until December.
Further information pertaining to the schedule of the day's events, the features of Cross Roads, the registration process, directions, and becoming a sponsor may be found on the following websites: www.thecrossroadsmarket.com,
"We are looking forward to the wide open spaces of Cross Roads being filled with classic cars, their owners, and spectators to be a part of the fun, and help the cause," Ceci said.