Car enthusiasts descend on Putnam for Main Street Car Cruise

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Aug. 12, 2013
Ron Polomski and Christine Kelly drive through Putnam in Kelly's 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. Photos by D. Coffey.
Ron Polomski and Christine Kelly drive through Putnam in Kelly's 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. Photos by D. Coffey.

The eighth annual Main Street Car Cruise brought thousands of cars to downtown Putnam on Aug. 11. Roads and parking lots were closed off, as car enthusiasts took over the town for the day.

By 7 a.m., drivers were parking their cars and raising their hoods on Main Street. By 9:30 a.m., a section of Kennedy Drive had been cordoned off and filled with vehicles. Shiny paint jobs and chrome bumpers shined in the sun of a perfect day. Visitors had the opportunity to watch drag racing, burn-out displays, a diesel truck tug of war, motorcycle stuntmen, and a jet ski demonstration.

WINY radio personality and host of “Juke Box Gold,” Bill Alley, said the show broke all records. “This show draws tens of thousands of people from all over New England and the mid-Atlantic,” Alley said. “This is a big deal on the car cruise circuit.”

Claire and Peter Christosaro drove from Warwick, R.I., in their 1948 Ford convertible. They sat on lawn chairs in Rotary Park and watched as people looked over their car. A “For Sale” sign in its front window drew some attention. “On a scale of one to 10, this show is a 10,” Peter Christosaro said. “Between the number of cars and the friendliness of the people, it's great. The town is charming.”

The town and the show was certainly a charm for Mike Carnelli, who won a trophy for the Best Sports Car. The Plainfield resident entered his white 1983 slant nose Porsche after purchasing it in May. “Whoever owned this car before me took great care of it,” he said. He takes his wife out in it in the morning to go for coffee and in the evening to go for ice cream, but he doesn't drive it to the dirt bike racetrack where he works. Its white paint job was unblemished. Not a spot of dirt or dust could be found on it where it occupied a space opposite Nikki's Dog House.

David Williams took home the trophy for Best Rat Rod for the second year in a row. He and his son Jake worked on the car for more than six months. “We did a lot of cutting and sanding,” the Scituate, R.I., native said, laughing. The parts from several different cars made up the rod he lovingly painted a shark's gaping mouth on.

Alley gave kudos to all the drivers who had come out for the event. “Thank you for sharing your labors of love,” he said from the stage. “You are keeping history alive.”

Ellen Gillon came from Chaplin to see the cars. She'd filled her camera's memory card with pictures. “It's been great,” she said, as the sound of a throaty engine came to life. “Everybody has to be somewhere. This is the place to be today.”

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