This year’s street festival to feature vintage cars, the Batmobile, the Meade Brothers and new carnival rides
The Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District (BID) will present the 33rd annual United Capital Corp AutoFest and Street Festival on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 12 to 5 p.m. This year’s fair will feature new carnival rides, including a mini ferris wheel, a rock-climbing wall and a 50-foot slide. Vintage and classic cars, including the Tucker automobile of which only 51 were produced, the 1933 Auburn Boattale Speedster and the original Batmobile featured in the 1960’s Batman television show, will be showcased. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be held on Sunday, Oct. 22.
“The AutoFest and Street Festival has become a celebrated Long Island tradition, bringing together families and car enthusiasts from Great Neck and beyond to enjoy this great community event and all it offers,” said Ron Edelson, executive director of the Great Neck Plaza BID. “Each year we try to bring something new…to add something that festival goers have not experienced before at our festival. This year, there are several new attractions, including new kids’ rides and a special guest appearance by the original Batmobile featured in the 1960’s Batman TV show starring the late Adam West. We’re expecting a huge turnout and thank our title sponsor United Capital Corp and its vice president and Great Neck Plaza BID board member Michael Lamoretti for the continued generous support, as well as Metropolitan Commercial Bank, which is a contributing sponsor for this year’s event.”
One of the region’s most beloved bands, the Meade Brothers, will return to the main stage for the 11th consecutive year. The band, comprised of members Rich Meade as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Greg Meade as vocalist and lead guitarist, Capt. John Raguso as bassist and backup vocalist, Zach Stern as drummer and Paul Brokaw as keyboardist and vocalist, plays covers from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many more. Since the group’s formation 44 years ago, the band has opened for many popular acts including Harry Chapin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joe Walsh.
New this year on the festival’s second stage, located at the corner of Middle Neck Road and North Station Plaza, will be daylong performances from the young dancers of To The Pointe!-Katya’s Dance Studio. This entertainment showcase promises to be a new family-oriented highlight of the festival, as dancers perform originally choreographed numbers from modern dance to colorful Asian performances.
“The AutoFest and Street Festival is a great day for families and those of us who love vintage and classic cars,” noted Jay Corn, Great Neck Plaza BID vice president and AutoFest Committee chairperson. “AutoFest gives people an experience that they can’t get on Amazon.com, at Costco or at Roosevelt Field. It gives them a feeling of community and they can get to know the merchants on a first-name basis.
“It is part of an overall collaboration between the Great Neck Plaza BID and the Village of Great Neck Plaza to build upon and maintain an active, strong and exciting downtown,” Corn continued. “From BID-produced events such as this festival, summer promenades, Halloween parades, restaurant weeks, sidewalk sales, holiday gift certificate programs and a yearlong social-media campaign to the village’s summer concert series, ongoing downtown beautification efforts and numerous successful initiatives to bring smart-growth residential development to our downtown, Great Neck Plaza has become a model for other downtowns across Long Island.”
Among the classic cars on display will be the 1948 Tucker owned by Howard Kroplick and the 1933 Auburn Boattale Speedster owned by Dave Palter.
Kroplick’s classic is the 44th of only 51 Tuckers ever produced. The saga surrounding the car’s production was explored in the 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream starring Jeff Bridges. When a 1948 Tucker sedan was featured in the July 26, 2011, installment of NBC’s It’s Worth What? television show, the car’s estimated value was $1.2 million at the time.
Created by the Auburn company’s now world-renowned automotive designer Alan Leamy, the 1933 Auburn Boattale Speedster was Leamy’s second generation design for the Speedster; the original Boattale Speedster was introduced in 1928. The major changes in the 1933 model were more rounded, graceful lines and the prominent as well as the famous length of the car’s hood. Considered by many to be art deco at its technical best, Leamy used this long stretch of painted metal to emphasize the Speedster’s power.
“The AutoFest and Street Festival is always a highlight event for our village,” said Jean Celender, mayor of Great Neck Plaza and a Great Neck Plaza BID board member. “The cars, the many activities for kids, the music, the dance performances scheduled for this year, the culinary treats our many restaurants offer—it all makes for a wonderful Sunday afternoon for everyone.”