Jerry Bell sat in a chair Sunday afternoon playing his guitar and talking about the 1957 Willys Jeep he brought to the Smithfield Elks on Farnum Pike for the fourth annual Rhode Island Hot Wheels Toy Show-Parking Lot Cruise.
The entire event wound up raising $1,000 for Meeting Street School despite Sunday’s heat and high humidity. There were canopy tents to protect volunteers and attendees from the scorching sun.
Bell, who was among entrants in the parking lot cruise, wasn’t exactly singing a rain song or anything close, however, as chairman George Arakelian joked while wiping sweat from his head: “Whew! We all wish there was some relief in sight.”
“We had an unbelievable record turnout of toy car collectors,” said Arakelian, who co-chaired the event with Rhode Island Hot Wheels president Jim Lombari. “There was room for 50 vendors inside the Elks Lodge, and by the time doors opened, there were 60 people showing their respective collectibles.”
While the Johnston-based Screaming Eagles Motorcycle Group helped with the day’s attendance, one of its members had a motorcycle that received rave reviews throughout the afternoon.
That was Carmine Borelli – of Borelli’s Bakery fame – who rode his 2002 Heritage 100th Anniversary Edition white motorcycle to the show.
“We didn’t sell out the cruise,” Arakelian said. “But we were very, very appreciative of the classic car owners – and motorcycle group – that came to Smithfield on a day when most people were at the shore.”
In all, there were 14 Top Pick trophies presented at the conclusion of the highly successful show, with A Custom Car Stereo Center – which sponsored all the parking lot cruise awards and raffle prizes – presenting its Top Pick to a 2011 Ford Mustang.
Sunday’s event also featured a 50/50 raffle and other prizes, such as Auto Zone car cleaning buckets filled with products.
“We want to thank al the people who came here and supported this event on a very hot and humid Sunday afternoon,” Arakelian said during the closing ceremony.