Thursday June 14, 2012

LENOX -- At least 350 vintage British cars -- Rolls Roy ces, Bentleys, Jaguars, Aston Martins, MGs, Triumphs, Austin Healeys, Morgans and other classic models -- will be on parade this weekend during the town's second Berkshire British Motorcar Festival.

A highlight of the British lifestyle event, which made its debut last June on the Tanglewood grounds, will be a downtown street festival Fri day evening from 6:30 to 9:30. It starts with a procession of the classic vehicles from the festival's new home at Shakes peare & Company on Kemble Street.

The motorcar caravan will proceed from the campus, led by a Paul Revere lookalike on horseback, to the village center, where the vehicles will be parked on designated streets for public display.

The free Main Street Party, sponsored by the town's Chamber of Commerce, features the tribute band, Who Are You, performing from 7-9 p.m. at the Roche Reading Park adjoining the Lenox Library.

A portion of Main Street will be closed from 5:45 to 9:45 on Friday evening, from Franklin Street to the intersection with Walker Street at the war monument, said Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.

Marketing efforts for the event have been stepped up, said Select Board Chairman Kenneth Fowler, with a prominent banner across Main Street and two billboards on Route 7 north of town and in Great Barrington.

"I'm hoping the biggest problem we have this year is too many people," said Fowler, the local liaison for the festival.


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Promoter Michael Gaetano, a veteran car show organizer and Anglophile, promised "a jolly good time," similar to the show he stages in Stowe, Vt., every September. That show originated 21 years ago.

Gaetano told The Eagle that online registration for car-show participants closes at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Public parking will be provided at nearby Hope Church. Fowler emphasized that "everyone is pitching in," noting that Canyon Ranch and Cranwell Resort have agreed to supply shuttle vans from the parking area to the show.

"It will be a little bit of pandemonium and a lot of wonderfulness," Fowler predicted.

Gaetano expects increased participation by local vendors for this year's show, which he described as "huge for Shakespeare & Company" in terms of exposure.

"This is not your average car show," he said.

According to Fowler, the Lenox Chamber of Commerce and supporting businesses have funneled at least $7,000 into the event.

"We're working with the community to get local merchants to support the show," said Gaetano. "It's for the common good, to benefit the community as well as the event."

His budget projects expenses of $35,000 and income of $52,600.

For public viewing of the registered cars, the Shakespeare & Company grounds will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with a two-day general-admission pass sold for $15. Children under 12 are admitted free.

Events on Saturday include the Concours d'Elegance (a judged competition), the People's Choice Competition, a display of new British motorcars, and a "Car Corral" of classics owned by registrants offered for sale, as well as a British Marketplace of automotive spares and accessories, art and sculptures, leather goods, clothing, jewelry, regalia and food. Among the featured attractions on Sunday is the Tailgate Picnic Competition.

To encourage registrants, their families and spectators to shop and dine downtown, the Lenox Chamber will offer free shuttle service between the Shakespeare & Company grounds and Main Street.

Berkshire sponsors of the festival include Donovan Motorcar Service in Lenox and Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond. Beverage service will be provided by staff members of Shakespeare & Company, and on-site vendors will sell food.

The event's website is www.berkshiremotorcarfestival.com.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto

If you go ...

The Berkshire British Motorcar Festival returns to Lenox this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Among the key public events:

Friday

6:30-9:30 p.m.: Street Party in downtown Lenox. Includes a procession of at least 350 registered classic vehicles from Shakespeare & Company's grounds to the center of the village, where they will park along designated streets. Street vendors will provide food and beverage service.

7-9 p.m.: Live performance by the tribute band, Who Are You, at the Roche Reading Park, Lenox Library.

Saturday and Sunday

9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Public display of registered vehicles, Shakes peare & Company campus, Kemble Street, less than a half-mile from downtown. General admission: $15 (two-day pass); no charge for children under 12. Scheduled competitions and judging events at various times during the two-day exhibition.

For more information, visit www.berkshire
motorcarfestival.com.