Saturday May 26, 2012

STOCKBRIDGE -- The Chesterwood Antique & Classic Automobile Show on Sunday, a Memorial Day tradition, remains a family-friendly event on the spacious grounds of the former seasonal home and studio of famed sculptor Daniel Chester French.

Off the beaten path on back roads in the Glendale section near the Norman Rockwell Museum, the show is a major fundraiser for Chesterwood, a National Trust Historic Site.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the show features folk singer Arlo Guthrie’s 1954 Mercedes Benz 220A Cabriolet, on sale for $220,000 at Donovan’s Motorcar Service in Lenox; a 1910 Oakland Model 24 Roadster (one of only three that survive in the U.S.); a 1936 Rolls Royce; and a vintage fire truck, among scores of other vehicles.

The show was first held in 1974, continued until 2004 and then returned in 2010.

"The event returned because a great core of people passionate about cars and about Chesterwood stepped up to reinstate it," said Rich Bradway, chairman of the show and a member of the site’s advisory council.

More than 1,000 people attended last year, raising nearly $20,000 for Chester wood, he said.

For Sunday’s show, 125 vehicles are expected, up from 84 last year.

"We’re trying to find really unique cars that you typically wouldn’t find at other shows," Bradway said.

Nearly half of the car owners are from Berkshire County, with the rest from the Pioneer Valley, nearby New York counties, and several more distant points such as Cooperstown, N.Y., and North Kingston, R.I.

Bradway said this year’s emphasis is "not only about cars but also about Chester wood and its family-friendly environment."

Visitors can tour the estate, woodlands, garden and studio where French created his best-known work for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

There will be live music, food provided by Berkshire area vendors, and beverages.

Admission is $15 ($10 for members); children under 18 can attend at no charge.

Antique-car owners can register last minute on Sunday from 8 until 11 a.m. Same-day registration is $20 per car.

Displays are categorized decade by decade, starting in 1900 and ending with the 1979 cutoff date. There are separate categories for pre-1979 tractors and farm vehicles, pickups, jeeps, vans, heavy commercial trucks with a one-ton payload or more, as well as fire engines and motorcycles.

Organizers have set up a youth judging program, a first, involving 15 young classic-car enthusiasts aged 8 to 12 who will evaluate vehicles, led by an adult guide.

In addition, a car scavenger hunt will entice kids age 4 to 10 to discover photos of visual elements on cars being displayed. A prize will be awarded to participants who correctly identify the vehicles depicted.

Participants in the two youth-oriented programs will be given free ice cream from SoCo Creamery, which is also selling its frozen treats at the event.

Live music will be performed by New Jersey-based country musician Moot Davis.

Additional Berkshire-based food vendors include Lakota BBQ, Barrington Bites and Berkshire Mountain Bakery,