Swanton Car Show revs up community

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SWANTON — Hundreds descended on the Swanton green Saturday to enjoy a day in the sun, music, and take a look at some beautiful cars. The sixth annual Swanton Chamber of Commerce Car Show was a huge hit for the community and attracted a record 215 cars from all over New England and New York.

The show is the Swanton Chamber’s biggest event each year. Food trucks, a DJ, the farmer’s market, and an Arts Council and library sales rounded out a busy weekend that proved to be a boost for local business and fun for the whole family.

“This has been a great turnout,” said Mark Rocheleau, co-chair of the car show. “We’ve got cars here from Montreal, New York, and southern New England. People from all over like to come here because this is one of the few car shows that takes place in the shade! Our green is the perfect place for an event like this.”

“I’m a car enthusiast myself,” Rocheleau said, “so this is one of my favorite days of the year.”

Rocheleau entered his own 1977 Pontiac Trans Am in the show.

Former chamber of commerce president Adam Paxman, who serves a Rocheleau’s co-chair, was also thrilled at the turnout.

“This is such a great day for Swanton,” Paxman said. “It is good publicity for the town and our businesses and it’s a great fundraiser for the chamber, which reinvests every penny it makes off this show into the community.”

Chamber president Jack Paige said that the car show is great community building tool:

“This is really a great event to get the community together, to enjoy each other, and build relationships,” Paige said. “We can bring together local artists, musicians, business, the library, everybody can come to the green and enjoy one another.”

“I remember when we were all young, growing up in Swanton. There were always things to do, events happening, shows and farmer’s markets and things like that. It was great to grow up here with that sense of community. What we’re trying to do at the chamber is encourage that community environment, get people to come outside and feel like their part of Swanton.”

Sandra and Tim Dolan were two Swantonians who couldn’t wait for the car show. “We’ve lived here 10 years,” Sandra said, “and this is one of our favorite events. It is a great show with lots of really great cars.”

Sandra just bought a new Mini Cooper, which she was thrilled to have in the show. “It’s the only one here!” she said.

Matt Borysewicz, of Isle la Motte, entered his 1932 Ford Roadster. Borysewicz is originally from Connecticut, but he’s owned a piece of the islands since 1987 when he bought the property his retirement home now sits on.

“I bought this car for $750 in 1970 and spent about two years fixing it up,” he said. “This is my third Swanton Car Show and I just love coming out here.”

John Greer, who has served as a volunteer firefighter in Swanton since 1999, was gleefully showing off a 1946 Peter Piersch fire engine that Swanton purchased new in that year.

“This is the very first fire truck that Swanton purchased,” Greer said. “All of the others that came before were repurposed pick-up trucks.”

Greer is the keeper of the truck for Swanton fire. It’s his job to keep it looking good and running well.

I’ve always been into old trucks. Taking care of this truck is like a love letter to the village, it’s a piece of our history,” he said.

The truck was in the fire station when it burned on cabbage night, 1975. It was all but destroyed in that fire, but one would never know it to see it today.

“It really is a beautiful truck,” Greer said smiling. “I don’t know how I ended up being the keeper, but I sure am happy to do it.”

The car show is the successor to the now defunct Swanton Summer Festival, which was once the chamber’s biggest fundraiser. Registration fees alone earned the chamber more than $3,000. The proceeds will fund future chamber events like Halloween in the Park.

“This really has been a great year,” Paxman said. “Every year it gets bigger. We have a lot of first timers this time around. It’s really a great event for Swanton.”