Cars like this 1962 Jaguar XKE at Donovan Motors will be at the Lenox Motorcar Classic on Friday evening.
Cars like this 1962 Jaguar XKE at Donovan Motors will be at the Lenox Motorcar Classic on Friday evening. (Eagle file)

LENOX -- The town is throwing an evening-long block party on Friday called the Lenox Motorcar Classic, an event that features classic cars and the modern country-rock sounds of Berkshire County's own high-energy band, Whiskey City.

There will be significant differences for this year's outing -- a homegrown version of what would have been the third annual Berkshire British Motorcar Festival, since that festival's promoter, Michael Gaetano, is taking the year off in deference to personal issues affecting several co-organizers.

But vintage-car enthusiast Kenneth Fowler, a member of the Select Board, and Lenox Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ralph Petillo have joined forces by contacting the region's numerous car clubs, including the Pittsfield Piston Poppers, for an expected turnout of at least 120 vehicles. They expect Gaetano's event to return next June.

This year includes classics from the Berkshire British Motorcar Club, a regional group based in Bennington, Vt., and from Donovan's Motorcar Service at 4 Holmes Road, notably a Jaguar XJ6 and an XJS. Also on display will be a state police cruiser of 1930s vintage recruited by Police Chief Stephen O'Brien and several antique fire trucks.

"We'll have a broader range of vehicles than we had before and something for everybody this time," said Fowler. "Donovan's is planning to bring two of their Jaguar XKE race cars into town, and that's a really cool thing -- a big deal. Getting close to one of those cars is just exciting to me."

Brian Donovan said his race cars received special permission from the police chief to be driven into town.

The community-oriented party, catering to town and county residents as well as visitors, will run from 6 to 9:30 on Friday with a portion of Main Street and Church Street in the center of the historic district blocked off. Fowler described the arrival of the shiny, old vehicles as a "cruise-in, a kind of who-shows-up thing."

Participants will assemble at Shakespeare & Company for a procession into downtown at the start of the event. Whiskey City will perform continuously on a stage set up in front of the Lenox Library.

"People will get to see the cars drive by, that's more exciting than cars just sitting," said Fowler. "I like to hear them and see them move, that's what they're meant to do."

The long-range forecast, subject to revision, calls for partly cloudy skies and only a 30 percent chance of showers.

Although the event is free, food and refreshments will be sold on the street by Loeb's Foodtown, Scoop, Ernie the Hot Dog Man, and several purveyors of Italian sausages and peppers, Petillo said.

"We didn't want to make it so big that we don't give play to our restaurants," Petillo said. "We're very conscious of the fact that when we bring crowds to town, we want them to take advantage of the good eateries we have here. It's an event to celebrate Lenox."

The Chamber and its members are spending about $4,000 to organize the car show, according to Petillo.

The public will participate through a "People's Choice" award, voting for their favorite classic vehicle. The winner of a Chamber-sponsored raffle will attend a one-day race car driving lesson at Skip Barber's school on the track at Lime Rock, Conn., a $1,200 value. A maximum of 340 tickets will be sold at $20 each.

"It's the best Father's Day present," Petillo said. "You can learn how to be a race car driver."

Petillo is asking drivers who plan to attend on Friday to notify him at the Chamber office: (413) 637-3646.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@yahoo.com
or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto