On the song Right Hand Man Joan Osborne sang “I’m wired and I’m tired and I’m grinnin’ like a fool”. While the context in the song was different, the words surely described virtually all Citroënistes on the ride home for R21. Despite COVID’s continued impact, felt most acutely in the absence of our friends from Canada, we were able to gather with 165 people and over 85 cars. Saratoga Springs NY was once again our host town for the big weekend of September 9-12.
Held 3 months later in the year than usual, the weekend’s program was familiar to long time attendees. Beautiful Citroëns of all models started to populate the streets of Saratoga Springs en masse Thursday afternoon. That evening, our new home base at the Holiday Inn on Broadway had a mini-Rendezvous in the parking lot as owners connected & reconnected to catch up on the 27month gap since the last Rendezvous. The usual comradery was seen & heard as laughter was abundant and the mechanically inclined crawled under a new friend’s car to help diagnose an in-trip surprise.
The group eased into Friday with the first official activity held in the afternoon. Familiar faces and our favorite cars could be seen scattered throughout town all morning long. After folks hit their favorite restaurants for lunch, we all headed to a familiar spot at 588 Lake Avenue for our Ice Cream Social. The newly opened Kaleidoscope Café & owner Bruce Wadsworth provided many delicious flavors to choose from, all made with fresh ingredients on site. Even with temps lower than our typical June weekend, the Ice Cream Social was a perfect treat and foreshadowed a great weekend ahead!
Just a couple hours later, we were at the Holiday Inn for our Friday evening Welcome Reception. One of the biggest questions as we headed into the big weekend was: How would everything go at our new home base? Given the feedback both immediately and after the event, it was a big hit! With Holiday Inn providing catering, we were able to expand the menu and had a ballroom inside for folks to gather. The room was selected to allow easy access to the back parking lot where our cars took over and picnic tables were also available. The socializing carried late into the night as most seemed to want to savor every minute of the weekend.
The majority of folks that had pre-registered stopped by to pick up their registration packs and it was great to see so many familiar faces along with new, first time Rendezvous’ers. Thanks to one of those first timers, Lawrence Wood, we had a terrific t-shirt available with images front & back. Given how fast they were flying off the registration table, it seemed everyone loved them!
For the big day on Saturday, we headed back to Lakeside Farms in Ballston Spa. The day started early with the vendors setting up their displays. Stalwarts, Dave Burnham, Brad Nauss, & Kenji Yoshino were back to anchor the sales offerings. Long time vendor, Erik DeWidt unfortunately had a conflict and missed R21. Likewise, Andre Pol was unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. And George Dyke & the Citroënvie team’s absence was also felt at the registration tent. Fingers crossed they’ll all be with us for R22.
Before long, Rich & the Lakeside team had breakfast set up with their usual selection delicious baked goodies to go with bagels & fruit. Gallons of coffee were also there to prep us for a great day. Cars started rolling in just before 9AM and the line seemed to continue uninterrupted until lunch time. We even had more than 25 “drive up” registrations!
The show field was gleaming with Tractions & 2CV’s, DS’s & SM’s, CX’s & GS’s, an HY & an XM, even a C6 showed up! As far for the people, we had volunteer table draggers & beverage schleppers, registration table sitters, spare parts purchasers, car history tellers, a few nap takers and, mostly, Citroën oglers!
As the day continued, those oglers cast ballots for their favorite cars on the field. Winners were announced after a superb dinner of barbeque ribs or chicken along with various side dishes, including fresh, local corn on the cob. Lakeside also put out a great desert of various pies & cookies. Tables were set up both in the barn and under the tent to give folks an al fresco dining option.
As the show field wound down and throughout dinner, there was a terrific collection of items available on the silent auction tables. The auction is a big part of the weekend. All items are kindly donated, and every dollar helps us for the next year’s event. Big MERCI to Bill Blaufuss, Camille Erb, & Michaela Hellman for once again organizing the auction. Rich Bonfond, joining us all the way from California, donate a wonderful assortment of goodies. Gabrielle Isenbrand brought a selection of books & models that had been part of Carter Wiley’s collection. Given how much Carter shared his knowledge with folks, it was a beautiful way to honor his memory and continue that knowledge sharing.
Back to the stars of the weekend, the cars: It is never easy to pick the best of such a gorgeous assembly of cars. Each year, though, there is one that stands out. This year, Max Sajous’ whimsical Mehari took Favorite of Show to the delight of all. (Full list of winners below). While there were some repeat winners, there were also several first-time winners. Every year the competition gets stiffer as the cars get treated to restorations or new cars find their way over from Europe. All the winners should be proud!
Sunday had us gathering in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga for an Au Revoir Petit Déjeuner. One last time, Lakeside filled our bellies before we hit the road. Some folks stayed in town one more day hoping the weekend just wouldn’t end.
With a great blend of seasoned Rendezvous veterans & over 10 first timers, there was a beautiful energy all weekend long. It was a great way to reboot the Rendezvous and see our favorite cars & owners again. The Chauffeurs are already planning R22 and are optimistic that it will be held with open borders so we can have an even bigger turnout!
|Favorite of Show||1970||Citroën||Mehari||Max Sajous|
|2CV & Truckette||1985||Citroën||2CV (sedan)||Danny O’Malley|
|Ami, Dyane & Mehari||1970||Citroën||Mehari||Max Sajous|
|CX/CXA & BX||1986||Citroën||CX (series 2)||Jeff Brown|
|ID/DS||1971||Citroën||D (wagon)||Jon Chomitz|
|GS/GSA, XM/C6 & H-van||1976||Citroën||HY Plateau||Paul Stockman|
|Other French||1972||Renault||R17||Nick Dimopoulos|
|Long Distance||1984||Citroën||2CV (sedan)||Axel Kaliske|