5th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show - Nested Birds
Despite skyrocketing gas prices, escalating insurance costs, and a declining Firebird population, the 5th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show at the SPA State Park in Saratoga Springs, New York, once again showed double-digit growth. Official start time of the event was 9:00 a.m., but at 7:45 a.m. the rumble of Pontiac power could be heard in the SPA State Park like a stampede of thoroughbreds leaving the starting gate at the Saratoga Racetrack.
Attendance increased by 15 percent from 2006 with 127 Firebirds registered on the lush, grassy show field. Donations from participants, spec-tators, and sponsors were up 20 percent from 2006, while net proceeds totaled nearly $5,000. All money was donated to Special Olympics Saratoga.
When asked for an explanation of the increase, show co-founder Sandra Smith offered a simple reply. "We were founded on the principles of Firebird people getting together to have a nice, relaxing time, to share Firebird knowledge and passion, and to raise money for a very worthy cause. We are first and foremost an important fundraiser for Special Olympics Saratoga wrapped up in a Firebird show. We maintain a casual small-town spirit in a world-class environment!"
Although Saratoga Springs is indeed a small tourist city of just 30,000 residents, it offers show participants the entertainment venues of the Saratoga Auto Museum, Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York City Ballet, the historic Saratoga Battlefield, beautiful Saratoga Lake, and the professional 18-hole Saratoga Golf Course. These-not to mention the Saratoga Racing Museum, the Saratoga Museum of Dance, a Victorian downtown shopping and restaurant district, plus a modern shopping mall on the north end of the city-are all within a few miles of the show field.
Throw in warm summer days, cool summer nights, a field of show-quality Firebirds on manicured lawns among historic stone buildings, and you have the perfect recipe for a relaxing venue where participants enjoy a laid-back reunion with Firebird friends and family each year.
Many attendees combine their vacation with this Firebird gathering to create the ultimate Pontiac getaway. License plates were seen from places such as California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Vermont and Virginia.
A number of enthusiasts arrived on Friday afternoon to gather at the Saratoga Auto Museum, which was the staging area for the 10-mile All-Firebird Cruise through the historic city past Saratoga Lake, the Saratoga Racetrack, and the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway to Mr. Ed's Ice Cream and Pizza Station. Ed provided a special menu for the Firebird cruisers. Despite threatening skies and even dime-sized hail just hours before, 25 Firebirds representing all generations cruised through Saratoga with an SSPD escort arranged by Firebird Nation of North America club vice president Joe Carey.
On show day, class awards were divided into 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, and a Super Street class. Entry into the Super Street class required an aftermarket turbo, supercharger, nitrous, a blower, or a tubbed body. There were also special awards including the Saratoga Auto Museum trophy, the Mangino Pontiac trophy, a Special Olympics Athlete's Choice trophy, and a Special Olympics Coach's Choice trophy.
Huge 5x6-inch full-color dash plaques, donated by Ralph Mangino Jr. and Mangino Pontiac Buick of Ballston Spa, were a big hit with show participants. Another show favorite was the photo booth of Photowheels.com, which offered high-quality car portraits on the spot.
Garnering Pontiac excitement from the crowd was the Best of Show concours-restored '69 R/A-III four-speed Trans Am and the Best of Class concours-restored '70 1/2 R/A-IV four-speed Trans Am, owned by Kathy and Ray DeCrescenzo. In fact, all winners accepted their awards before an enthusiastic group of applauding participants, spectators, and athletes.
The 6th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show will be held on Saturday, July 5, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., on the grounds of the SPA State Park adjacent to the Saratoga Auto Museum. The rain date is Sunday, July 6, 2008. Judged trophy classes will see the 2nd Generation class divided into '70-'76 and '77-'81 for 2008. Other classes include 1st Generation, 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, and a Super Street class. Additional trophy awards include a Special Olympics Athlete's Choice, Special Olympics Coach's Choice, the Mangino Pontiac Dealer's Choice, the Saratoga Auto Museum Director's Choice, and a Best of Show. Sponsored oval awards will also return for 2008. For more information, contact Tom or Sandy Smith at (518) 587-8215, tsmith24@earthlink.net, or visit www.clubs.hemmings.com/firebirdnation.
Our Volunteers
Athletes and volunteer coaches from Special Olympics Saratoga were a big part of the Saturday show. Primary organizational and management duties fell upon show founders Tom and Sandy Smith. Operational tasks went to Special Olympics volunteer coaches and the host club, Firebird Nation of North America, Inc., a chapter of the National Firebird and Trans Am Club.
Judging of the field was handled by Joe Carey, Neil Silberkleit, Eddie Barra, and Keith Fuerst. Trailer queens Sandra Smith, Susan Banker, Arlene Delaney, and Sandy Byron were in charge of registration of all 127 Firebirds. FNONA members David, Lisa, and Trish Lord ran the hot dog and beverage station, while Special Olympics volunteers Judy Keehan, Mary Schwartz and Chris Radz sold general raffle tickets. A photographic team consisting of Pete Manos, Richard Millier, Ralph Mangino Jr., Rick Holloway, Phil Ginsberg, Stephen Manning, Steve Reed and Tom Smith captured the Saturday show and Friday night cruise.
Not to be outdone, Special Olympics Saratoga athletes Brian Smith, Todd Byron, Jennifer Delaney, John Schwartz, and DJ Nolan were a large part of the show. They selected a Firebird for the Athlete's Choice trophy, selected 25 Firebirds for Athlete's Choice ribbons, picked all the winners of various raffle prizes, and presented most of the trophies. Athlete DJ Nolan provided toe-tapping tunes, the PA system, and many of the show announcements. Firebird Nation of North America member Keith Tanny sold club-sponsored 50-50 raffle tickets. Half of the $817 collected was won by Timothy A. Gerasimchik, while the other half was donated to Special Olympics Saratoga.
Raffle Prize And Non-Award Sponsors Advance Auto Parts of Saratoga
Ames Performance Engineering
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Albany, New York
Hagerty Underwriters Inc.
Hannaford Brothers Supermarkets
Jim Valentino from Photowheels.com
Mangino Pontiac Buick of Ballston Spa, New York
Northwind Graphics of Malta
Price Chopper Supermarkets
Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
Want Ad Digest of Troy, New York
Winners ListSpecial AwardsNameHometownClassYear / ModelKathy DeCrescenzoClifton Park, NYBest of Show'69 Trans Am R/A-IIITed MarekDerby, CTAthlete's Choice'69 400Ron PrattPhoenix, NYCoach's Choice'67 LS1Elizabeth AgostiniAthens, VTSaratoga Museum Choice'68 Firebird 350 convertibleKim RushlowRichford, VTMangino Pontiac Choice'89 GTA
Class Winners<STRONG>Name<STRONG>Hometown<STRONG>Place<STRONG>Y ear1st GenerationTom MartensWest Nyack, NY1st'69 FirebirdAndrew CollingMonson, MA2nd'68 Firebird convertibleJohn & Rita DowningCamillus, NY3rd'69 Firebird convertible2nd GenerationRay DeCrescenzoClifton Park, NY1st'70 1/2 T/AGeorge BergWhite Plains, MD2nd'78 T/ADerek & Carol Fletcher Mattapoisett, MA3rd'74 SD T/A3rd GenerationDean MeneilleyLansdowne, ONT1st'86 T/APaul & Sue KermisHenrietta, NY2nd'92 convertibleAdam SweeneyBurlington, VT3rd'88 Firebird4th GenerationJim NapoletanoNorwalk, CT1st'99 T/A 30th AnniversaryRyan & Grace Corcoran Milford, PA2nd'94 FirehawkJohn DottaBangor, PA3rd'00 T/ASuper StreetChris SirianoCamillus, NY1st'68 FirebirdSteven DancerMadison, OH2nd'77 T/A 502Dennis TiceDelanson, NY3rd'67 Firebird
Sponsored AwardsThere were 28 sponsored resin oval awards divided among the four generations and Super Street class. The pewter-and-gold cast ovals were awarded on the basis of judges' top scores after trophy winners. Sponsors included: Midway Family Dental Associates of Albany; Baker's Auto Service Center of Ballston Spa; Dannible & McKee LLP of Syracuse, New York; Luther Forest Wealth Advisors LLC of Malta, New York; DePaula Chevrolet of Albany, New York; Painting by Ken, and DeLacey Massage Therapy, both of Schenectady, New York; Mohr's Service Center of Saratoga; Saratoga National Bank and Trust; Saratoga Auto Museum and Express Auto Repair of Clifton Park, New York.NameHometownYearJoseph BrittPennellville, NY'67 FirebirdDouglas BussingStillwater, NY'69 FirebirdRichie RobertsLindenhurst, NY'68 FirebirdJim GoodrichSaranac Lake, NY'67 FirebirdBob StrugarNiskayuna, NY'67 Firebird convertibleWilliam HunterOneonta, NY'68 400 convertibleFil & Nancy FerrautoSomers, CT'80 Turbo T/ASeth BenjaminWilton, CT'70 1/2 T/AJames McDonaldChicopee, MA'70 Formula 400Rick HollowayWaterford, CT'71 T/AMichael CoppolaWind Gap, PA'81 Pace CarGeorge BergWhite Plains, MD'70 1/2 T/ASusan HollandEaston, PA'79 T/ARobert RyanLiverpool, NY'73 FirebirdGerry GaringSchenectady, NY'76 T/ALarry MichaelShelburne, VT'92 FormulaRobert KrawiecWest Springfield, MA'89 FormulaJohn KicakEast Syracuse, NY'87 Formula 350Wayne & Maureen Cook Latham, NY'91 FirebirdPhil & Nancy DeTraglia Fonda, NY'87 FirebirdSteven Svoboda Scotia, NY'86 T/AJeff CluneSparrowbush, NY'02 CE T/AOtis WoodardLiverpool, NY'02 T/A WS6 convertibleSteve DikeMilton, VT'02 FirehawkNeil SilberkleitOxford, CT'02 CEAndy DiSalvoSouth Cairo, NY'02 T/ASteve PagachAlexandria, VA'01 T/AJessie WatsonSaratoga Springs, NY'86 Racecar

Photo Gallery: 5th Annual All-Firebird Lawn Show - High Performance Pontiac Magazine

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