BENNINGTON - The 47th annual Bennington Car Show was in full swing this weekend, after getting off to a slow start on Friday due to heavy rains.

Mud was the theme on everybody's mind, but whether they were walking through it, parking in it or polishing it off their classic cars, most people laughed about the Vermont weather under clear skies on Saturday.

Ray Papandrea and his wife Barbara made the trip from Orwell for their fourth year at the car show, where they brought their 1965 Chevrolet Corvette fuel-injected coupe.

"They only made 771 of them that year, so this is a pretty rare bird," said Papandrea, who used a trailer to carry his car to the event at Willow Park.

"It's nice to get out here and support our local Vermont community," Papandrea said.

(Khynna Kuprian )
Although he noted, "It can take hours to clean these cars once you get them here."

With muscle cars, trucks, antique, classic and contemporary cars on display, tractor owners were alone in their disregard for where you could park and not get stuck.

Prepping for the tractor pulls early Saturday afternoon, Zach Rowland, 24, of Bennington, had more traction than he needed and had to let some air out of his calcium chloride-weighted tires.

Rowland has been attending the car show for the past four years, pulling in heavy-load competitions with his red 1945 Farmall H tractor.

"It still works pretty good, I use it to drag firewood in the winter," said Rowland, who also plans to attend the Shaftsbury Hollow Tractor Olympics this weekend in Bennington.


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Visitors from further away were enjoying the weekend as well.

Friends Shirley Mitchell and JoAnne Leclair travel to Bennington each year together from Cheshire County, N.H., to show their cars, along with Leclair's dog and "mascot," Molly.

"My husband has had it since he was in school, his father bought it for him and now we take it all over," said Mitchell, of her husband Buzzy's 1930 Model A Ford coupe. With only 27,000 miles on it the Mitchells likely have many years of car shows ahead of them.

Leclair also drove her bright red 1987 Mercedes 560 SL convertible to the show without getting stuck, and said the trip is part of the fun.

New to the show, Steve Herzig and Jason Clark from Ashfield, Mass. decided to attend Bennington after hearing about the event at other car shows, and were on hand to provide custom lettering, gold leaf, striping and cartoon detailing to attendees.

Custom glass etching by Steve Patnode, also from northern Massachusetts, was available for car windows and glassware.

"The owner of the car we're working on right now just left it in our hands, we can do whatever designs we think would look good," said Patnode, as all three worked on designs beneath storm clouds rolling in.

Sponsored in part by the Bennington Rotary Club, the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce and other local Rotary and Lions clubs, the first car show was held in 1967 and grew to its current size with a flea market, food vendors and children's activities, as well as the Downtown Cruise-In with live music. Proceeds from the event go back into the community.

Contact Khynna Kuprian at kkuprian@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @khynnakat.