Business, Arts

Classic Music and Classic Cars

Summer Street Fair at Brick Walk Shopping Center Features Music from the '50s and '60s, Classic Cars, Hula Hoopers and Rhythm-Stomping Crowd

The Brick Walk shopping area of downtown Fairfield became a summer street fair of 1950s' and '60s' music, classic cars and hula hoops Saturday evening.

Music by the soulful The Royal Kings brought dancing couples to the pavement and attracted dozens of curiosity-seekers to the 25 classic cars on display.

It was an event sponsored by surrounding shopowners to introduce their off-the-Post-Road businesses to the uninitiated.

As lead singer Cookie Richard belted out "Stand By Me," babies held aloft on fathers' shoulders were bounced up and down to the music.

Hula hoopers vying for a prize - a wrapped candy treat - swirled their hips to the music - if they could keep the plastic rings in motion.

"You're eligible for a prize if you can keep it going for four to five seconds, depending on age," said Angela Sauer, tending the hula-hoop booth in front of the shop where she works, Magnolia, a fashion jeweler.

Meghan Metcalf - her face painted as a beige feline by face painter Pam ("10 years and 4,000 parties!") Dostling - helped out. Her mother, Eva, owns Fairfield Stationers.

"Hey, don't you want your prize - you were awesome!" Sauer called out to Lulu and Delia Murphy, who had brought along their own hula hoops and clearly could have performed a hula-hoop marathon between them.

William Imschweiler, 5, walked away with a brown puppy with a silver collar painted on his left arm, like a tattoo by Dostling.

"His dad's allergic to dogs so this is as close as we can get," said his mother, Kelly.

Meanwhile, 25  shiny, spotless classic cars - any older than 1984 qualified - lined up in three rows with their hoods, trunks and windows open for inspection.

Car owners and spectators alike qualified to cast a ballot to select the "Best in Show" car, its owner winning an impressive trophy. There were plenty of trophies for runners-up and next-to-runners-up, too, as arranged by Diane Byrne, manager of Magnolia, who organized the event.

Mark Milosky of Southport showed off one of the big attention-grabbers: His 1958 Edsel Citation. "Ford's top-of-the-line for 1958 and one of only 2,500 made that year," he said.

Milosky bought the snazzy powder-blue, royal-blue accented oldie from a museum in Butte, Montana, sight unseen, on e-Bay.

He satisfied himself to make the purchase and ship the car by trailer from detailed photographs.

"I knew it was perfect when I saw that the bolts on the undercarriage weren't rusted," he said. "It still has the original spare tire."

"I don't know if anyone ever sat in the back," he said of the pristine shiny vinyl upholstery.

To his wife, Karen, who was displaying the couple's vintage white Mustang - a rarity whose front-mounted horse lights up when the headlights are on -  the cars are a work of art.

"They have beauty in their line and color and chrome design," she said.

Mark traced his fascination with classic cars to 1974, when he spotted a 1958 Edsel at Shea Stadium. He took its picture and counted the days until he found one for himself. 1958 happens to be the year he was born.

Parker Ackley and his wife Gwen were dressed in vintage 1950s' clothing, following the theme of the event, as they showed off their elegant 1915 convertible Dodge.

"It can get up to 46 miles an hour after being driven a mile and a half on a level road, but it loves to go 25 or 30," said Ackley.

He and his wife frequent local parades in the showy vehicle, which has its original leather upholstery in the back seat.

"People smile when they see it go by without even thinking about it," he said.

Rich Iannucci of Stratford spent his career in the Navy with the Seabees, building infrastructure for the Marines.

He put his skills to work when he and his son, Joe, restored a 1956 Oldsmobile to perfection.

"It had been sitting in a garage for 17 years. It didn't run," he recalled. "It took us two years  to restore everything but the undercarriage and chrome, which we sent out, and it took a lot of money."

"It's an investment," he said.

Iannucci has even collected original owner manuals and sales memorabilia distributed by General Motors to promote the "Rocket-88" Oldsmobile more than 50 years ago.

Ernie Fischer of Fairfield was asked which car was his favorite.

He pointed to a dark pick-up truck in a far corner.

Ushering an inquisitor to get a closer look, he extolled the virtues of the Ford-100 built in 1955. "It's just real clean," he said, and, besides, it belongs to a friend of his, Nick Carriero.

Connecticut Seaport Car Club Trophy Winners were:

Gary Melfi - 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS-409

Gwen and Parker Ackley - 1915 Dodge Brothers Touring Car

Ricky Petrizzi and Family - 1950 Chevrolet Pick-Up

Karen Milosky - 1966 Ford Mustang

Mark Milosky - 1958 Edsel Citation

The Best in Show went to Rich Iannucci for his 1956 Oldsmobile Holiday.