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Car Show Memories

August 1, 2017

The Bennington Car Show, which was held for 48 years, was cancelled in 2015 by the Chamber of Commerce. Over lunch one day, Tom Paquin, Rye Mausert and Douglas Krause reminisced about their times working on the car show. They talked about the various locations of the show from the high school, to the Veterans Home, to the airport and Bennington College among other places.

Bob Condon was the first chair of the Car Show and as a Rotarian he recruited many of his fellow Rotarians to work on it. It was only after a few years that it officially became sponsored by the Rotary Club along with the Chamber of Commerce.

Tom worked on the car show when he joined Rotary in 1970. Rye joined a few years later and was involved in setting up the first flea market which consisted of forty spaces of automotive goods only. By the time the car show closed, there were more than 840 slots of a variety of different goods.

Many Rotarians worked hard on the show over many days. There was a social element that often meant that members would stay overnight at the show playing poker.

The car show was not only a bonding experience for those who worked on the event, but it brought income into the community in many ways, including filling the motels and restaurants, something that was missing during the time it was at the Pownal Race Track.

The reason for the Car Show's success as a fund raiser was that there were multiple sources of revenue. There was the income from the registering of the cars, from the selling of spaces in the flea market, from the admission price and from the selling of food.

The Bennington Rotary Club which did much of the work raised enough to fund its scholarship program as well as other activities and organizations in the community.

Thanks to Rye Mausert providing a contact, Bob Condon may write an article for the newsletter about the early days of the car show.

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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