2022 Sarasota Highland Games & Celtic Festival

What would the Highland Games be without pipers in kilts?

The 27th Sarasota Highland Games & Celtic Festival was held on Saturday, February 5th, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The annual event is organized by the Scottish Heritage Society of Sarasota and always offers a full day of fun entertainment for the whole community. There were tartans galore with dozens of clans represented. This year’s list of attractions included highland athletics, soccer dog and sheep herding demonstrations, competitive dancing, music, food and drink, as well as a car display by the SBCC. This was our 11th year participating in what is one of the club’s favorite events.

Attendance at this year’s festival was somewhat dampened by cloudy skies, a stiff northern wind and the continual threat of rain. The Scottish settlers who landed on Sarasota Bay in 1885 would have felt right at home. Our participation was likewise affected by the weather, although we did have 15 fine examples of British motorcars present.

For our showing, the following Highland Games rosettes were presented by Bonnie Perkins, President of the Scottish Heritage Society of Sarasota.

1st Place: John Magine’s 1966 Austin Healey 3000.
2nd Place: Pat Kelly’s 1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
3rd Place: Mike Browne’s newly acquired 1994 Rover MINI Cooper 

Photos by the author, except as noted.

Christmas Trolley Ride & Election

SBCC President-elect Bruce and First Lady Carolyn Skaggs prepare to board the trolley for the Holiday Tour of Lights.

In what is now its own holiday tradition for the club, on December 14, thirty-two members went on a trolley ride to view Christmas decorations in Sarasota. The Sarasota Trolley Company annually scopes out the best home displays and maps a tour that lasts about an hour and a half. And what a great show it has become! You just sit back, sip your BYOB, and listen to holiday music while enjoying what Sarasota’s residents have created. Our Club filled up the trolley and it was nice to have it all to ourselves.

On the Club business front, in November, 60 members were present at the Red Lobster for the election of officers for 2022. A full slate of candidates for the various positions was presented, and all were elected by acclamation. They are: President-Bruce Skaggs, Vice President and Activities Director-Jim Wilson, Secretary-Walt Mainberger and Treasurer- Debbie Wilson. The Board of Directors includes the foregoing officers, plus Jack Knuese and Woody Schaub. There were no reports of voter irregularities.

On an historical note, this was our club’s last meeting at the Red Lobster. For at least the past 15 years, this accomodating eatery has been the site of our club’s regular monthly meetings. This particular franchise has now shuttered its doors, reportedly because of a significant increase in the rent requested by the landlord, along with the negative effects of the pandemic on custom.

Thanks to Bruce Skaggs for the input and photos. RIP, Red Lobster.

Just one of dozens of the family holiday light creations seen at homes along the tour.

Veterans Day Parade 2021

Triumphs lead the way. That’s SBCC President-elect Bruce and Carolyn Skaggs in the lead TR3.

The City of Sarasota once again hosted the November 11 Veterans Day parade that was not held in 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic concerns. The parade this year specifically recognized those Veterans who served in Afghanistan, as well as honoring those who served in all other conflicts. A few members of the Suncoast British Car Club polished their LBC’s and joined this patriotic event. There was a brief sprinkle at the start of what, otherwise, was a very pleasant morning. There was a good-sized and very enthusiastic crowd along the half-mile parade route. And from the comments shouted out, they definitely liked our cars!

The local ABC-TV station, WWSB, covered the parade and featured it that evening in their news programming. The presenter began the newscast along the lines of, “The parade on Main Street featured colonial flag bearers (rolls the tape of colonial soldiers), local high schools (shows footage of Riverview High School Junior ROTC unit), and classic cars (cue the Suncoast British Car Club).” In addition, the club vehicles served as a backdrop for a news interview by another local station (SNN) also that evening. See photos.

Photos by the author, and from The Herald Tribune (Gannet), SNN and WWSB.

Safety Harbor Car Show 2021

For thirty-four of the past 35 years, Main Street in Safety Harbor, Florida has been taken over by the display of some fine examples of classic British motor cars.

The fourth weekend of October featured two concurrent events in Safety Harbor, Florida. From October 21-24, the national Austin Healey Southeastern Classic was headquartered at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa. Then, on Saturday, October 23, the Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club held its 34th Annual All British Field Meet and Autojumble. Anchored at one end by the Resort, it extended up eight blocks of Main Street. As SBCC member, John Magine, related, “I have never seen so many beautiful Healeys in one place.” 

John further reported: “It was a great show with over 250 cars filling both sides of Main Street. The weather was warm and sunny with hundreds of spectators, dogs and kids. The Tampa Bay club did a super job placing all the cars and coordinating the event. During the awards ceremony in the park, the counting software had a glitch so winners were notified by email later. Other than that issue, it was a great show.”

In past years, our club has had upwards of 10-12 cars entered in the All British Field Meet. Safety Harbor is a manageable hour and a quarter drive north from Sarasota. For a variety of reasons, including the continuing pandemic which forced the cancellation of the event last year, only three of our members participated this time. However, even with fewer numbers, club members were again successful bringing home (or, more accurately, receiving later in the mail) some noteworthy awards. John and Joan Magine got a Second in Class for their 1966 Austin Healy 3000 and Steve and Patti Phillips got a Third for their 1980 MGB.

Thanks to John Magine for the feedback and photos and to Bruce Skaggs for additional input.

Sun Coast Jaguar Club Festival d’Elegance

Another beautiful day on the Suncoast finds scores of Jaguars nestled underneath the shady palms and live oaks of St.Armands Circle.

The show. After a year’s absence due to the pandemic, the Sun Coast Jaguar Club returned to St. Armands Circle Park, Sarasota, Florida on October 9 for their Festival d’Elegance. This was the 35th version on the palm shaded lawn of this premiere venue. The annual festival attracts many of the finest Jaguar automobiles, including antiques, current classics and modified prototypes in the region. Awards were made to automobiles in a variety of classes. The sponsor, Wilde Jaguar, also presented a display of the latest Jaguar models.

The location. St. Armands is a renowned shopping and dining district created by circus and real estate magnate, John Ringling. It’s adjacent to Lido and Longboat Keys, with their pristine white sand beaches and the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico just a short walk away. Note: St. Armands (no apostrophe) Circle was named for Charles St. Armand, who bought the key in 1893. His last name was incorrectly written on the original deed as “Armands,” and the misspelled name is still used today.

SBCC Participation. Like the 34th Festival in 2019, the Suncoast British Car Club was invited to join the Jaguar club and show our LBC’s in a separate judging. Awards were presented to the top three of our fourteen cars participating. First Place was awarded to the 1966 Austin Healy of John and Joan Magine, Second to Pat & Linda Kelley for their 1961 Bugeye Sprite and Third to Brad & Carol Rosenbarten’s 1962 Daimler SP-250. As usual, our LBCs got a lot of the attention, although admittedly, there were some really beautiful Jaguars.

Input on SBCC participation and photos provided by Bruce Skaggs.