2019 Highland Games

Bob Faria collected a Highland Games’ First Place ribbon for his 1929 Austin Tourer “Chummy.” Ninety years old!
[The car, not Bob.]

The 25th annual Sarasota Highland Games & Celtic Festival was held on Saturday, January 26, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The day started out chilly with a brisk wind and remained partly cloudy the rest of the day. As in previous years there was much to see and do but the weather forecast for rain showers throughout the weekend likely put a dent in the overall attendance. That might also have held down the number of vendors that usually participate. As it happened, there was only a brief sprinkle in the early afternoon. Those who ventured out had an enjoyable day! The club participation included 16 cars representing a wide variety of marques.

The Highland Games judges made the following awards:
Blue ribbon: Bob Faria – 1929 Austin 7 Chummy
Red ribbon: Peter Magnusson – 1952 Bentley MKVI
White ribbon: Fred Cook – 1957 TR3

Photos by the author.

Rotary Arts Fest 2019

Bundled up against the elements at the Venice Rotary Arts Festival.

On Jan. 20, the club caravanned to the Venice Rotary Art Festival on grounds adjacent to the Venice Airport.  We’ve participated in this annual event for many years and this time they had us display our cars up front near the entrance gate, which provided great visibility. We had 16 cars in place by the 9:30 am start time.

Historically, the weather at this time of year for this event has proven to be variable. Regular attendees can attest to both extremes: being burnt by the sun in the open, treeless field or “frostbitten” from a strong, chilling wind rolling off the Gulf. The latter was certainly the case this year with the wind so strong that all but one festival vender packed up their tent and left. The result was that instead of an Art and Crafts Show with a bonus of some old cars, we were elevated to the star attraction.

But even that ended prematurely when we decided to move our lunch reservations at the British Open Pub up two hours, thus leaving the Festival at 11 am. The festival organizers were obviously disappointed that the club also pulled out of the event early. But, as one member wryly observed, “The attendees come to the show to see the arts and crafts venders, not the assortment of British cars present. We are typically the frosting on the cake. No cake, no show!” Twenty members enjoyed lunch at the pub.

Input for this report came from Joe Malaney, Bruce Skaggs and Anita Woods. Joe also provided the photos.

Newcomers Luncheon 2019

Members’ Cars at Jacaranda Trace

On January 14, the  club welcomed all newcomers (those who joined during the past year) to an SBCC-hosted luncheon at The Jacaranda Trace in Venice, Florida. The meal was preceded by a car show for the enjoyment of the residents of this elegant retirement home. We had 17 cars, the oldest being Bob Faria’s 1930’s era Austin 7, with a few Jag XK’s as the newest. Several rare cars included two Morgans, a Rover, a Healey 100, and a Lotus. There were 34 members in attendance.

As in previous years, a wonderful lunch was served in the Magnolia Room of the Barclay Manor. The meal was accompanied by the usual great service, and everybody had a pleasant, relaxing afternoon. Our newest members, Douglas and Trudy Kniff, were present. Doug is from Michigan and has several British cars, but unfortunately no room yet for any of them here in Florida. Of note, Marie Mainberger and Cindy Douglas took off from work to attend the luncheon. Cindy works for a Sarasota logo company and is helping with producing our new club hats and shirts. The club offers a special thanks to Tom and Shirley Gooding, residents of Jacaranda Trace, for helping organize this event. And finally, thanks to all those who attended and made this a great club occasion.   

Jim Wilson authored this report. I also included some info from Bruce Skaggs and Anita Wood. Jack Knuese and Joe Malaney provided the photos.

Drive to Magnolia Street Seafood & Grill

Former Plaza Hotel, current home of the Magnolia Street Seafood & Grill, Arcadia, FL

On January 12, the club undertook a drive-to-lunch with the Magnolia Street Seafood & Grill in Arcadia, Florida as the destination. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the former, and long vacant, Plaza Hotel. The Plaza once offered first class accommodations in a bustling and rapidly growing Arcadia during the 1920’s Florida land boom. In bright contrast to its current rather downtrodden surroundings, this restaurant has been described in “EAT’s Magazine” as a “Gem of the South.” In addition, it has been designated a “Best Bet” in the 2018 edition of the BF Goodrich Travel Guide to “Best Seafood Restaurants in the Southeast More Than Twenty-Five Miles Inland.”

We had an excellent turnout of ten cars and 18 members for the beautiful drive and a great meal at the restaurant. And, the weather was pleasant all day for our travel over the back roads into the heart of rural Florida and return.

White Elephant January 1

The club’s most popular and oldest continuous event is the annual New Years Day potluck picnic and White Elephant gift exchange at Turtle Beach, on the southern end of Siesta Key. All attendees are asked to bring a wrapped present to exchange. This is the time to unload that lamentable gift you received over the holidays, or better yet, the thing that you were stuck with at last year’s event. Approximately seventy members were in attendance.

As can be seen from the photos, we were blessed with a cloudless sky and balmy temperatures. As usual, it was a fun occasion with a delectable array of mouth-watering food contributed by all the attending members. There was the customary exchange of “surprise” gifts, some of which were unloaded several times by recipients during the gathering. On the other end of the spectrum, the more desirable items were traded up to the 3 times max limit. Popular items this year were club logo hats, bottles of wine, a portable stool and, as always, an orchid plant. We all left having had another fun start to the New Year.

Thanks to Bruce Skaggs and Anita Wood for additional wording.