By PETE FONTAINE Classic cooks Jim Fletcher, Dennis "Goober" Martel and Mark Merlino made three different sandwiches as often as noted disc jockey Rob Caramante pumped different musical recordings into the night's warm air at Rossi Park in Warwick.
Classic cooks Jim Fletcher, Dennis “Goober” Martel and Mark Merlino made three different sandwiches as often as noted disc jockey Rob Caramante pumped different musical recordings into the night’s warm air at Rossi Park in Warwick.
Meanwhile, Tri-City Elks Exalted Ruler Deb Mangina and Maureen Sullivan sold dozens of tickets to people who hoped to win the lucrative 50-50 drawing last Thursday night when Lodge 14 kicked off its Classic Collectible Car Show Season during a three-hour plus event that many people said seemed as though it was in mid-summer form and resembled a huge backyard barbecue.
Even the Tiki Bar, which was a gift to the Tri-City Elks from Dr. Patrick T. and Gayle Conley, was surrounded by familiar faces as well as people who awaited the special and speedy service of bartender Michele Mahon.
“Welcome back!” exclaimed Mark Eaton, a Warwick resident who doubles as President of Rhode Island’s 10 Elk lodges and is the show’s founder, as he greeted a number of vintage vehicle owners. “I’m amazed with the great turnout for our first show of the season; this seems like an old-fashioned family reunion.”
People of all ages, even mothers with young children, made their way from one end to another of picturesque Rossi Park that borders Tri-City’s “Golden Pond” looking at the classic cars that ranged from current day Chevrolet Corvettes to Model A as well as ageless Cadillacs to roadsters, T-buckets and those one-time popular Fairlane Ford that date back into the 1950s were among the impressive lines of 70 plus cars on display.
“This is the perfect place for any car aficionado,” assessed Eaton, who is credited with being the show’s founder. “It’s a great night out – the food’s fantastic and cooked to order and people can always enjoy their favorite beverage.”
Likewise, while there was a line for the sausage and pepper sandwiches – which featured peppers and onions – as well as the charcoal-grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, Caramante fulfilled countless requests for songs like the Temptations hit “My Girl” and everything from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and countless other music icons.
“This is definitely the place to be on Thursday nights – providing, of course, if it doesn’t rain,” declared Carol DeLory, one of the many long-time valuable volunteers of the Tri-City Elks who brought her lawn chair and joined a group of friends who did the same thing.”
Caramante, who played numerous requests that some people danced to, made the night “extra special” as many Elks and visitors let it be known after the brief yet tear-jerking ceremony that the popular disc jockey said “is a special moment of silence and tribute to our late Elk brother Joe Solomon, who loved and served this Lodge and City of Warwick for a number of years and in many capacities, most recently as Mayor.
There was first a moment of silence followed by the playing of The National Anthem then Caramante telling an attentive audience “This next song” – which was Proud to be an American – is what Joe was always about until his unfortunate passing last week at the age of 64.”
The Tri-City Elks Classic Collectible Car Show is held every Thursday night from 5-to-8 o’clock, weather permitting, behind Lodge 14 that’s located at 1915 West Shore Road in Warwick. There is no admission fee for car owners or spectators.