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Chamber block dance draws large crowd to downtown Massena


MASSENA - Parking was at a premium Saturday night in downtown Massena when the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce held the 16th annual block dance and car, truck and motorcycle exhibit.

“We had that place packed,” Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said. “We had a couple over in the parking lot by Rite Aid. We try to keep everything on the street, but we ran out of room.”

All together, more than 100 cars, trucks and motorcycles lined Main Street between Orvis and Andrews streets. That portion of Main Street was closed starting at 4 p.m., and Mr. Gleason said some vehicle owners were already waiting before the closure.

“There were actually cars there from earlier that afternoon,” he said.

The streets were filled with not only classic and newer vehicles, but a crowd that enjoyed a beautiful summer night as they strolled along Main Street and listened to the sounds of Bruce LaShomb and the Boys, who were playing in front of the theater.

“I was very pleased. The band was great. The turnout was great. People kept coming all night,” Mr. Gleason said.

“Looking at (the forecast) on Wednesday and Thursday, it was looking like a 60 percent chance of rain. I was not too thrilled about the forecast,” he said.

As it turned out, the rain stayed away and sunny, breezy night kept the spectators comfortable.

“I think we had probably one of the nicest days in about a month. The breeze was nice,” he said.

A bounce house set up near Key Bank drew a steady crowd, as did a free photography session inside Nathan Lashomb’s Forevermore Studios and face painting in front of the photography business. Various vendors also set up along Main Street and the Massena Volunteer Fire Department held a chicken barbecue fundraiser, selling out all 350 chicken halves they had cooked.

The first 100 registered vehicles received a goody bag and dash plaque. Trophies were also be awarded to the Best GM, Best Mopar, Best Ford, Best Other Make, Best Motorcycle and Best In Show.

The winners were: Best GM, a 1970 Chevelle SS owned by Matt Benedict; Best Ford, a 1938 Ford Coupe owned by Steve Shorette; Best Mopar, a 1968 Dodge Charger owned by Dee Badlam, Best Other Make, a 1977 MGB owned by Darrel Raville; Best Motorcycle, a hot rod motorcycle owned by B&M Performance; and Best of Show, a 1937 Studebaker owned by Frank Howie.

Mr. Gleason said they are fortunate to have members of the former Massena Olde Car Club to help out with the show. Thanks to those members, they have established contacts to make the show bigger and better every year.

“That’s what makes a difference,” he said. “It was most definitely a very good event.”

Now the chamber is gearing up for the second annual Classic Car Show scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. July 27 at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. They’ll be assisting with the registration and may also help with the judging.

The casino’s Classic Car Show will feature craft vendors and T-shirts for sale throughout the day, and there will be a $500 prizes for Best In Show. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded for: Vintage, Retro, Muscle GM, Muscle FORD, Muscle MOPAR, Special Interest, New - 1990 Present and Truck Pre-1970’s. “We’ve already had a few meetings. It’s going to be a big show,” Mr. Gleason said.

The chamber is also continuing its Concerts in the Park series this Thursday, with Tas Cru playing from 5 to 7 p.m. at Springs Park.

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