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Brasher cruise-in sets new record

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BRASHER FALLS - Once the vehicles started coming in for Wednesday’s Super Cruise In and Car Show in downtown Brasher Falls, there was no stopping them.

“We had a record 175 (vehicles),” Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said.

This was the fifth year for the show, which drew 110 vehicles its inaugural year, 136 vehicles in 2010, 168 vehicles in 2011 and 148 vehicles last year.

Under sunny skies, many of the vehicle owners sat in lawn chairs along the St. Regis River and enjoyed the summer day as visitors walked by checking out the cars, trucks and motorcycles and, in some cases, stopping to chat about them.

“We had a lot of people who just brought lawn chairs, more than usual. The weather was really nice. We have a beautiful venue here. People like it along the river. People meet each other and sit along the river. It’s kind of a party atmosphere,” Mr. Dawson said.

Some came from as far away as Peru and Plattsburgh, as well as Vermont and Canada.

“We had a contingent from Vermont,” he said. “We had some people for the first time and some people for the fifth time.”

Gene Thomas, Nicholville, brought his 1934 Mercedes for display.

“I built this car all by myself,” he said as he wiped the classic car down.

“I haven’t waxed it in over three years,” he said.

The building process, he said, took him “probably 15 years.” Mr. Thomas owned a garage in Nicholville for more than 50 years, which he said spurred him to build the vehicle. The body was made specifically for him in North Dakota.

“I decided it was time to build what I wanted,” he said. “They only built three of these in the world. I built this with parts I had mostly. I’ve got a Mustang motor in this.”

He’s had the vehicle on the road for the past six or seven years.

“All I had to do was change the battery and one headlight,” Mr. Thomas said.

He said he also has a 1949 Plymouth convertible in his garage at home. That vehicle, he said, brings back memories.

“I drove it to high school,” he said.

Jim Gurrola brought two Corvettes to show, one a 1959 model and the other 1982.

“I’m a Corvette lover. I kind of picked it up from my father,” he said.

The 1982 model is the more rare of the two vehicles because of engineering delays with General Motors.

“They never even made an ‘83 Corvette,” he said.

Mr. Gurrola said there were about 6,880 1982 models made, while there were just over 12,000 1959 models that came off the assembly line.

The 1959 Corvette belonged to his father, and Mr. Gurrola acquired it after his father’s passing.

He said he has had help from Merlon Rogers and Moser Custom Trim Shop in restoring the vehicles.

“I just wanted to take it to the next level. That was my goal,” Mr. Gurrola said. “Without these guys, I would be there. I’m just the guy with the checkbook.”

The most difficult part, he said, is finding parts.

“When you order something that’s wrong, they don’t want to take them back,” he said.

A variety of vehicles lined the river bank and filled the municipal building parking lot and grassy area behind the building. They included everything from a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron and 1959 Corvette, to 1959 Ford Thunderbird and 1964 Chevy Corvair, to a 1950 Dodge Comet Club Coupe and 1968 Chevy Chevelle.

“We had a lot of repeat business,” Mr. Dawson said.

Wednesday’s event, which was sponsored by Lavigne’s IGA, Primabella’s, W.B. Goodnow Insurance and the town of Brasher, featured music by The Drifters and Kickin Back Country and food provided by the Quad Town Lions Club to benefit their Christmas basket program.

“The boys at the IGA donated all the hot dogs, all the soda, all the water, hot dog buns and rolls. Primabella’s donated six cases of hamburger and two $25 gift certificates,” Mr. Dawson said.

Frenchie’s Chevrolet donated oil changes, Savage’s donated an inspection and Kaneb Orchard donated 20 dozen donuts, while local businesses like the Spirits of Downtown, B&W Quick Stop, Munson’s Mini-Mart, Goose Landing and Riverview also donated items, according to the town supervisor.

“The town is really appreciative of all they donate. These are all places that are just very, very generous, and we really appreciated it,” he said.

A 50-50 raffle brought in $576, with the winner taking home $288.

“That was the biggest one we ever had,” Mr. Dawson said.

The proceeds from the raffle, along with sales from the food concession, all go the Quad Town Lions Club for their Christmas basket program.

Mr. Dawson said he saw everyone at the event having a good time.

“We don’t charge them anything. We give them free lunch and pass out dash plaques. We have a lot of door prizes for people. We bring people to the town that way to see our community. It gives them an opportunity to come into town. Hopefully they patronize some of our sponsors on the way in and out of town,” he said.

“People had a lot of fun. We try to make them welcome,” he added.

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