37 years old and going stronger than ever, the East Coast Rendezvous at Saratoga Springs, NY on Father’s Day weekend was a well enjoyed event by all those who participated. Rendezvous is the largest gathering of Citroëns in North America. Organized for the past 11 years by driveshesaid.com, which is spearheaded by Robert Monteleone and Kim Walter, the efforts of the group to stage the event never fail to impress.
This year the celebration theme was 45 Years of the Méhari. And to get six Méharis at the same locale was a spectacle in itself. Thrill rides were offered at the Friday night registration party at the Springs Motel where brave folks piled into George Dyke’s Méhari for thrill rides to downtown and back.
Rendezvous has grown to be a multi-day gathering with many arriving on Thursday and departing Monday morning. On Thursday it is the norm to have dinner at Mama Mia’s Restaurant near the Springs Motel. Friday morning is time to relax and see some of the downtown. At 2 pm there was an ice cream social welcome at Mister Ed’s Memphis Smoke House, a roadside hangout about 5 miles east of the city on Route 29. By 6 pm Rendezvous officially began and registration was in full swing at the Springs Motel. Boxes of pizza kept people fed as the event turned into a party that lingered on until near midnight!
Saturday morning was the big event with the show field returning to the the warming hut area of Saratoga Springs State Park. Not that the hut was needed this year as the temperature was ideal and the sky sunny without a visible cloud the entire day. On the field there were a vast array of Citroëns with some Peugeots in attendance.
Rendezvous reaches out to all marques and this year drew in a Mercedes 450SL, a Volvo 1800ES and and a 1965 Ford pick-up to name a few of the “others” that showed up.
It wouldn’t be a Rendezvous without music and this year we were serenaded with french tunes from the accordions of Norma and Peggy! Axel Kaliske gave a phenomenal tech session on adjusting 2CV valves and after that we had some fun driving an obstacle course laid out by Susan & Joe, the Airborne Jugglers who entertain us every year!
A special moment this year was a Food Drive organized by long time registrant Michael Cannon to honor the life of his daughter Gelseigh Karl-Cannon. He collected donations for the Franklin Community Center in Saratoga Springs and two CX loads were presented to the grateful staff on Monday as the Community Center was closed over the weekend. (You can read more about the Food Drive at the end of this article.)
Saturday evening was the annual banquet dinner, this time returning to Panza’s Restaurant on Route 9P on Saratoga Lake. The drive there was stunning as the sun glistened off the lake. Once inside we had plenty to eat at a tasty buffet. The People’s Choice Awards were presented (see the awards listings below) and Paul Riccardi won best of show for his his well worn Méhari that has been a workhorse staple at Rendezvous events over the years. There was a Silent Auction and 50/50 raffle with 100% of the proceeds supporting Rendezvous.
Sunday morning we gathered at the Springs Motel for breakfast and to enjoy the line-up of Peoples’ Choice Award Winners, which were the main feature in the parking lot. Then we took a relaxing and scenic regional drive to a couple of the locks on the Hudson River. We returned to Saratoga Springs for a couple of hours of relaxation before an informal BBQ dinner Sunday night at the Springs Motel. It was a perfect way to close the weekend and wrap up conversations with friends.
Along with the efforts of Driveshesaid, the event was made possible by the support of vendors that included: Dave Burnham Repair & Restoration, Citraulics, Citroën Andre, Citroën Quarterly, Erik deWidt and Evelyn Shukat 2CV parts, Excelsior Motors, French Parts Service West, Lance & Michaela Hellman, Brad Nauss Automotive, Rallye Imports, People Kars , Western Hemispheres and CITROËNVIE!
People’s Choice Award Winners were:
- Favourite Mehari: Raymond and Felix Boutin – 1970 Mehari (North American Spec.)
- Favourite 2CV: Sharon Brainard – 1979 Acadianne
- Favourite Ami: Ryan Rutherford & Tamara Petrosino – 1967 Ami6
- Favourite T/A: Blaise and Ann Anello – 1955 T/A
- Favourite Early D: Bill and Judy Huff – 1959 ID19
- Favourite Late D: Daniel Noiseux – 1974 DS23
- Favourite GS: Nebo Djurdjevic – 1978 GS
- Favourite CX: Dan McCarville – 1989 CXA
- Favourite SM: John Maddock – 1972 SM
- Favourite French (but not a Citroen): Charles Gould – 1959 Dyna Z-16
- Favourite European: Roland Voegele – 1973 Volvo 1800 ES
- Favourite Not French Not Euro: Juliane Karr – 1965 Ford F100 Pick Up
- Favourite of Show: Paul Riccardi – 1971 Mehari
Rendevous 2013 Food Drive a Big Success!
A big thank you for all the contributions to the R13 Food Drive. Two CX loads were required to get all the food from the Springs Motel over to the Franklin Community Center of Saratoga Springs. Even though they knew donations would be coming, the staff was amazed when they saw how much was collected. Our timing was fortunate for them as donations drop off in the summer but the need does not. Only the week before Rendevous another local food bank had relocated out of Saratoga bringing 15-20 new families to the Franklin Center.
It was wonderful that we were able to give back and help others in the Saratoga Springs area and demonstrate the civic mindedness and generosity of the Citroen community. A repeat performance is planned for Rendevous 2014. Thanks and Peace.
– Michael E. Cannon