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Disruption, an oft-overused word in the world today, can sometimes be a good thing.

On the heels of an enjoyable Beach Ball 2017, the Straight Eights made two drastic decisions regarding the 2018 Invitational: 1) Move the event from its traditional location of the past twenty years in Rehoboth Beach, DE, and 2) Set a budget to achieve a lower $99 registration fee. Some of the considered locations were drastic, to the point that it would not even be at the beach! Finally, after much research and interaction with various venues, hotels, and municipalities, the group settled on Dewey Beach for the hotel and awards dinner, and Bethany Beach for the car show.

Would club members be willing to accept such a dramatic change to an invitational that had been successful for so many years? Was our perception correct that Beach Ball needed a refresh?

The answer, it turns out, was a resounding "Yes!" Not only was registration up by 50%, but the feedback from participants during the weekend was extremely positive. Registrants came from up and down the East Coast, the Midwest, and at least one even flew in from the West Coast!

Hyatt Place Dewey Beach, a sparkling young hotel along the Coastal Highway, provided easy access, covered parking and outstanding service. While our previous location at the Atlantic Sands offered the convenience of centrally locating the car show and banquet, it also had a side effect of our cars otherwise being sequestered in the garage for the majority of the weekend. At our new location this year, Beach Ball guests gushed about the pet-friendly Hyatt Place, its staff, free breakfasts, and onsite bar that provided a chance to mingle during Thursday’s Meet & Greet and beyond. This location also motivated our members to embrace this year's theme: "Beach Ball in Motion," as not only did we move the location, but the cars were on the move as well – "OUT on the Road," as our LCCI motto proclaims.

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A quick peek in the parking lot revealed some early automotive debuts, including Jim Erickson-Nepomuceno’s 1966 Stingray, Mike Cull’s 1981 Datsun (by Nissan!) 280ZX turbo, and Tony Paolini’s handsome 1955 Lincoln Capri, which sadly decided to be contrarian, requiring escort homeby AAA to Pennsylvania, and so didn't make it to the show. Also, some board members CAUSED minor “car issues” of their own when Bill Teaney’s 1977 Chrysler Newport and Lou Vecchioni’s 1979 Mercury Cougar XR7 vintage exhaust [per]fumes set off the (very LOUD) parking garage carbon monoxide alarms upon arrival. How deliciously embarrassing!

With the remnants of Hurricane Florence blown out of the area, Friday’s caravan to Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE was a popular mid-day activity. About 20 cars were in the caravan, including Wade Jacobs' 1957 Rambler Rebel, Mike Lekas' 1970 Oldsmobile 98 LS, and Dave McCoy's 2005 Mustang GT. Beach Ball guests toured the brewery, sampled beer flights in the tasting room, and stayed for an excellent lunch at the restaurant. Others wandered around the Delaware town or shopped at the outlets along the Coastal Highway.

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While this was going on, volunteers and board members were prepping for our Friday night gathering at Mike Tyre’s home. Afternoon preparations were supervised on both Thursday and Friday by Mike's two loveable canines –Ida and MaryJane. Lou Fiore, Tom Lalley, Mark Jordan, Lou Vecchioni, Bill Teaney, Frank Adinolfe, Mike Cull, Steve Depasquale,and of course Mike Tyre, were ready for the mighty long caravan that arrived (and in force!) from the hotel.

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Friday night’s party was an outdoor fried chicken supper with homemade sides and live music provided by Slinging Daisies. Guests enjoyed seeing the cars, Mike’s beautiful home, and the arrival of a surprise dessert treat—homemade ice cream delivered and served by Hopkins Farm Creamery. Folks lingered well into the night, sitting by the bonfire and helping clean up (thanks!).

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Saturday was the big day: a new venue for our car show! After breakfast at the hotel and fluffing up cars, volunteers headed a few miles south to Bethany Beach to prepare for the show. This included Lou's distributed music system and fashionable (not!) lime green safety vests for parking "valets" Dave McCoy, Bill Teaney, Michael Fellenzer, and Kyle Blake, who would direct cars to their parking spaces on Garfield Parkway in the center of town.

Despite an early morning marathon held in the area, the Bethany Beach car show started on time with a strong turnout. About 60 cars represented 92 years of automotive design, starting with a 1926 Chrysler and a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan to a 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Coupe and a 2018 Tesla Model 3.

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The car show was well received by Bethany Beach patrons; unlike Rehoboth, we were on the "main drag," and had more public interaction with the cars and owners. Terrific weather, positive energy and beautiful cars drew people from the beach, but shops and traffic weren’t impeded by our event. We also were lucky to have Mango’s restaurant on the boardwalk available for our group lunch; attendees could drop in, enjoy a meal with ocean views, and go back out for more fun. In fact, at 3PM, we had to remind our members that the car show was over and it was time to leave! Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location, Howard Ghee, Alain Chin and Ed Trenn counted both the car club ballots and more than 120 People’s Choice ballots, with additional help from Ricky Ferracuti.

Later that evening, cocktail hour and the banquet dinner took place across the street from the Hyatt at the Rusty Rudder restaurant, a longtime favorite in Dewey Beach. People were catching up and talking about events of the day over cocktails on the outdoor bay front deck bar until we were seated inside for dinner with awards and door prizes. Like the other events during the weekend, it was informal, lively and brisk. Guests had plenty of time after the banquet to return to the lobby and bar at the Hyatt for more socializing, while some headed off to sample the Rehoboth Beach nightlife.

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On Sunday morning, our farewell breakfast was in the Hyatt Place’s private room, offering us a final chance for table hopping and saying our farewells. Alas, the rainy weather had returned, so on the way home, only a few hardy souls stopped by the St. Michaels, MD Concours d'Elegance, which had provided our group with $10 off admission, thanks to member Brian Routhier. The rest of us packed up our cars, turned on the wipers and left with fond memories of a refreshed Beach Ball weekend.

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The Straight Eights Board of Directors thanks all who attended and helped, makingit such a great experience. Special thanks go to Mike Tyre for hosting the Friday party and providing food and entertainment, and to the town of Bethany Beach, DE, who hosted and supported our car show, free of charge. Also, we urge you to respond to our forthcoming feedback survey. A gallery of over 600 pictures can be found HERE.

Beach Ball 2018 Car Show winning cars and owners

people's choice

 best in show

favorite gm

favorite fomoco

favorite mopar

favorite import

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favorite sports/exotic

favorite truck/utility/wagon

favorite unusual or rare

outstanding original

remarkable restoration

modern marvel

president's choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Straight Eights Region
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