On Saturday, March 7, we showed our cars at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard in Venice, Florida. The church was holding its Annual Benefit “English Afternoon Tea” and invited us to add to the event with a display of British Cars. Most of the group caravanned over secondary roads from Sarasota to Venice. We ended up with fifteen cars parked in a great spot under the shady oaks in front of the church. The sittings for the Tea were sold out resulting in a lot of interest from the participants coming and going. Following the arrival of the last sitting, we loaded up and took a 20-minute drive to the Myakka River Oyster Bar, located at the southern limit of Venice. This restaurant started out as a fish camp in the early 1950’s and has been a restaurant for the last 25 years. There were 18 of us for the early dinner.
This turned out to be our last club event before “safe at home” and social distancing guidelines were announced for Florida due to the Coronavirus.
The Eighth Annual B.I.G. (British, Italian, German) European Car Show in Cape Coral, FL took place on March 1, the day after the preceding event. Nine of our cars caravanned south for this popular show, jointly sponsored by the Triumphs of Southwest Florida and Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Southwest Florida. As in past years, it took place at the oak-shaded Jaycee Park in Cape Coral, on the bank of the Caloosahatchee River. This a unique show featuring other European sports and collector cars, both vintage and modern. The Club had an impressive showing, coming away with three firsts and two seconds.
On the return trip, the group stopped at the Ford Garage Restaurant in Punta Gorda for an early dinner.
Our club was invited by the Sarasota Ferrari Driver’s Group to participate in the 4th Annual ‘Exotic Car Festival’ in downtown Lakewood Ranch, FL on February 29. The Model A club was there as well. That Saturday, some 150 cars flooded Main Street, spilling over onto adjacent streets and lots. The list of exotic autos included such marques as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Bentley and others.
We had 11 member cars, augmented by Bill Stelcher’s Model A Speedster and Bob Tone’s vintage Porsche. The distinctive classic LBC’s and vintage pre-war cars were in nice contrast to the millions of dollars of late model exotics, many of which, quite frankly, look similar.
The weather was beautiful, helping to bring out a crowd estimated in the thousands for this popular event. It was a fun day for car enthusiasts, but more importantly, all proceeds went to The Flight to the North Pole, a charity benefitting terminally ill children in our community.
The annual Sarasota Highland Games & Celtic Festival is hosted by the Scottish Heritage Society of Sarasota. Scottish settlers landed on Sarasota Bay in 1885, and 135 years later, the city is still celebrating its deep Scottish roots, and the arrival of the first bottle of Single Malt.
The 26th edition of this annual event was held on Saturday, February 1, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. It was preceded by an all-night rain that, unfortunately, continued into the day of the Festival, followed by a stiffening wind. This weather would have made the early settlers feel right at home. The most popular venue was the large beer tent with live music, filled by spectators seeking refuge, entertainment and refreshments. But, by early afternoon, the weather improved and Festival attendance improved noticeably.
For the past ten years, our club has been invited to show our cars as a part of the Festival entertainment. Despite the inclement weather this year, 11 intrepid club members showed up with their LBC’s. The Highland Games judge(s) made the following awards:
On January 19, our club was invited to display our cars at the Venice/Nokomis Rotary Club Arts Fest which took place adjacent to the Venice, FL Airport. This is another one of our long-standing annual events.
Through their Futures Program, the Rotary Club does exemplary work with young people providing college scholarships to deserving students in our area. The arts fest is their main yearly funding event and we generally support them with a strong showing. We are the only car club invited and the organizers have now positioned us up front which offers maximum exposure.
Although the weather in mid-January can be dicey, this year we lucked out and were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and warm breezes. We had a great turnout with 22 cars – 21 British and 1 German(?). After the show, 14 members adjourned to the British Open Pub in Venice for lunch/early dinner and refreshments.
Jim Wilson and Bruce Skaggs provided input for this story.