On February 5, ten members of the club caravanned from Sarasota to St. Petersburg, FL for the above car show hosted by the St. Pete Yacht Club in the city park next to their club. This appears to be a reimagining of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Vintage Motor Classic, which heretofore was held annually in November for some 20 years before being rudely interrupted by the pandemic. The featured marque this year was the Morgan. The large number of spectators and perfect weather made for a great day.
This venue is a great place to have a car show. The park is blessed by large shade trees and there are many restaurants with differing cuisines within easy walking distance. And, if for some reason, you tire looking at the variety of cars, motorcycles and boats (this year there were 250 entries), there are always the yachts in the harbor to dream of owning.
Congratulations to SBCC member Bill Isenstein who won a trophy for Best Presentation in class with his 1973 TR6.
Photos are by Jim Wilson and the event official photographer, David Witty. For (lots) more photos, go to the 2023 Car Show website: stpetecarshow.com. David has generously made his photos available for easy download.
On January 21, the club once again set out on a scenic drive with the objective of a tasty lunch at mid-point. On this Saturday, intrepid path finder Jim Wilson set his sights on Giovanni’s Main Street Kitchen, an Italian eatery in Wauchula to the east. We had 10 cars and 16 members participate. By my odometer, we covered about 120 miles out and back. The weather was beautiful, not too hot, with low humidity and plenty of sunshine. As we motored through the Myakka area, there were still unfortunate reminders that Hurricane Ian had been there just a couple of months before – plenty of large downed trees and the familiar blue tarps still protecting the roofs of houses and even a rural post office.
Jim led a comfortable drive out over country roads and pastoral lanes. As the caravan got closer to Wauchula, the agricultural scene transitioned from cattle ranches to orange groves.
Fun fact: Until the late 1800’s, Florida was the No.1 cattle producing state in the US, even more than Texas. Cattle were first introduced to North America in Florida in 1521 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. Legend has it that he was blown off course while searching for what was to become the Lone Star state. Senora Ponce de Leon suggested her husband stop and ask for directions, but Juan stubbornly sailed on, landing some 1000 miles off course at St. Petersburg.
Back to the present, the food at Giovanni’s was as good as advertised with, according to Tomato sauce-smeared reports, the pizza being excellent. On the trip home, Jim let the horses loose and his little green TR6 kept disappearing over the horizon. All had a good time.
On Sunday, January 15, we had 17 cars participate in the annual Venice/Nokomis, FL Rotary Club Art Festival at the Venice Airport. This is another event that the club has long had the pleasure of partnering. Tom and Shirley Gooding initiated our participation by garnering an invitation to show our cars in this festival some 15 years ago. We fondly remember Tom and Shirley’s Jaguar boot full of goodies; and on the flip side, the several times when we were confronted with challenging January weather conditions on this wide-open site exposed to the elements.
The Rotary Club has done a wonderful job expanding and improving the festival over the years. We still are the only car club invited, and they now have us parking near the front entrance so our cars get maximum exposure. This year there were over 85 artists, plus food trucks and live music.
All of the proceeds from the festival go to the Rotary Futures College Resource Center in Venice High School. The Center helps Venice High School students apply for colleges, and makes scholarships available to help with the costs of attending. The SBCC is proud to contribute to these efforts.
Thanks to Jim Wilson for the input, including photos.
Not one to let the grass grow under his tires, on January 7, just one week after the very successful New Year’s Day event, club VP Jim Wilson led a spirited drive over some 100 bucolic, but black-topped back roads beyond Bradenton in the vicinity of Myakka to the east. Jim managed to avoid the ever-busy State Road 70, but as he observed later, it took the group through neighborhoods not accustomed to seeing a 12-car caravan winding through.
The destination was lunch at the historic Linger Lodge. This eclectic restaurant and RV park date back to 1945. It’s another one of the club’s favorite watering holes but, due to the pandemic, we haven’t dined there as a group since 2019. Twenty-one members enjoyed the exceptional service and still reasonably-priced menu items. And, where else this far east of Texas can you order roadkill right off the menu? Member Bill Stelcher lives close to the Lodge and motored over in his golf cart to join the group.
Jim Wilson and Bruce Skaggs contributed to this report.
Back on schedule this year, the club’s ever-popular White Elephant Gift Exchange was held on January 1 at the Turtle Beach Park pavilion on Siesta Key, Sarasota. Over 50 members and more than 20 LBC’s were in attendance. The club provided pizza. Members were also treated to sharing in the yummy dessert of some 8 dozen Fairy Cakes, hand-crafted by Debbie and Jim Wilson. According to the mechanically-inclined Jim, his role was to affix the two wings into each of the almost 100 mini-cupcakes.
The gift exchange is a popular holiday event where people vie to walk away with the best present available. The two swap/claim/steal maximum rule from last year remained in effect. That is, ownership can only change twice for each item, with the last owner earning the right to take it home. The more sought after gifts this year could be divided into two types – the logical and the unusual. The first group included the traditionally popular types of items for our car club – two books on the Rolls Royce marque, a jumbo pack of microfiber towels and random bottles of wine. The best example of the latter was the Fanny Bank, which breaks wind every time you insert a coin into (guess where).
The weather was perfect, everyone enjoyed themselves and the event was a great success. Many thanks to Jim and Debbie for their organizational efforts.