North Quabbin Cruisers shows back, with safety measures in place

  • Men admire a car at a North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. Ray Hamel (not pictured), the vehicle’s owner, said the car is a 1932 Ford Model T. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • Antique cars at a North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • A North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. This is an old fire truck. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • A North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • A North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • A North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • Brent Cameron and his son Benjamin, who was about to turn 4 years old, admire a car at a North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

  • A North Quabbin Cruisers show at Market Basket in Athol in August 2016. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/10/2020 3:20:44 PM
Modified: 8/10/2020 3:20:40 PM

ATHOL — Weekly North Quabbin Cruisers shows are back for the time being, though there are some notable changes.

The Wednesday antique automobile series took a hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic and started back up in the Athol Market Basket’s parking lot on June 10. But necessary precautions have put a different feel on the event.

Jim Gallagher, who helps organize the event, said the shows are limited to 75 cars (whereas it previously wasn’t uncommon to have 275) and hand sanitizer and Lysol spray are readily available throughout the cordoned-off portion of the parking lot. Anyone in attendance is required to wear a face mask and maintain six feet of space between one another. Also, the show will not serve food to participants or spectators, though people can bring their own food or make a purchase inside the supermarket or its cafe.

According to a post on the North Quabbin Cruisers’ Facebook page, owners of all cars and trucks, both foreign and domestic, are invited to show their vehicles starting at 4 p.m. each Wednesday. Gallagaher said shows would typically last until 8 p.m. but they have been ending a little earlier recently.

“We don’t have the crowds we used to have,” he said.

The series, a summer tradition, has about five more weeks before the season ends, Gallagher said.

Gallagher, 70, said some spectators have put up a stink about having to wear a mask in public, but he said the rules are in place to maintain public safety.

“We just got to do what we got to do,” he said.

A few North Quabbin Cruisers shows have been hosted by Paul Mennett, who who hosts “Cruisin’ New England” on NESN and publishes a magazine of the same name. Gallagher, a member of Mennett’s show series crew, judged the vehicles at one of these shows in late August 2016 and picked the three he believed were best to compete for awards in the Super Wheels Showdown in Boston’s City Hall Plaza that October.

Gallagher selected a 1968 Oldsmobile 442 entered by Jody Woodruff, a 2005 Ford GT entered by Pete Sienkiewicz and a 1929 panel truck entered by Doug Wilder. A 1971 Chevrolet Nova entered by Rob Watuins and a 1936 Dodge pickup entered by Chuck Blais were also tapped to appear in Mennett’s display at the Circle of Champions at the Big E.

Gallagher, who founded Jim’s Auto in Orange 40 years ago, is an avid collector of antique vehicles, with 15 in his possession. He said he started collecting circa 1978.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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