Manchester's 2013 Cruisin' on Main dedicated to John 'Randy' Thrall

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Tue., Jun. 25, 2013
John 'Randy' Thrall (left) was presented the 2012 Cruisin' on Main Street Volunteer of the Year Award by Bob Barker (right), chair of the Cruisin' on Main Street committee. Photo courtesy of Tana Parseliti. - Contributed Photo

The 13th Annual Cruisin' on Main is right around the corner, and the Cruisin' on Main committee has dedicated this year's car show to John "Randy" Thrall, who was a passionate supporter of the annual event. Thrall passed away earlier this year.

"John was a member of the Cruisin' on Main committee almost from the beginning," said Tana Parseliti, manager of the Downtown Manchester Special Services District. "He was an integral part of shaping this event."

Thrall's family owned Thrall Bus Co. in Manchester, and he also worked at Manchester Motor Car. He owned several classic cars, which he frequently exhibited at Cruisin' on Main. He inherited his love of cars from his father, who himself was an antique car collector. Thrall and his father would go to the annual car shows at Hershey and Carlisle, Pa., which are among the largest car shows in the region, until the time of the father's death.

Afterwards, Thrall would attend with his friend, Bob Barker, who is also the chair of the Cruisin' on Main committee. "When you walked around that event – there's people from all over the country – and you couldn't walk past seven booths without someone knowing his name," said Barker.

"He was one of the calmest, coolest people I've ever known," said Barker. "I've never seen him mad. I've never seen him upset. He was an even-keeled person."

The Cruisin' on Main committee reaped the benefits from Thrall's cool personality. "He had a tremendous set of inter-personal skills," said Parseliti. She remembers his great ability to share his enthusiasm for classic cars and Cruisin' on Main, which helped include many new participants into the event. "He really led our sponsor-recruitment efforts for the last several years and made many positive relationships."

Whether he was reaching out to people he had never met or handling a delicate situation, "people invariably walked away liking him," said Parseliti.

Thrall passed away March 6 at the age of 62. Parseliti calls his passing a loss not only to the committee but the community at large. "He was a true Manchester man. He had a big hometown heart."

Because of Thrall's devotion and committment to Cruisin' on Main, the committee dedicated the 2013 Cruisin' on Main to him.

Every year, the committee selects a car to serve as the "automotive face of the event." The car appears on the official T-shirts, on the dash plaques of displayed cars, and on promotional posters. For 2013, the committee will be using Thrall's 1941 Buick police car as the event's icon. The car will also be on display at the event, as well.

"You could probably ask any committee member, and they'd say he was a guiding light," said Barker.

The 2013 Cruisin’ on Main will be Sunday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Manchester. Show car registration opens at 8 a.m. All vehicles must be 1988 or prior. Show car registration is $10. Spectators are free. For more information, visit or call 860-645-2101.

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