26th Annual Vintage Weekend
Giving ‘Em What They Want
“They did it right. They did it better than right.” This quote, said by one spectator but felt by all at Weekend’s end, embodies the sentiment of all Vintage Weekend attendees. After 26 years, the Vintage Weekend Committee, made up of Vicki Goldstein, Lenny Sikora, Bill Parfet and Bill Johnston, still manages to introduce something new and different every year, while upholding the tradition everyone celebrates.
Looking back at Vintage Weekend’s roots is a testament to how far it has really come since it debuted in 1994 thanks to the vision of Vicki and Alan Goldstein. Without their vision, this wonderful tradition would not be one of the most anticipated events on Ocean Reef’s calendar.
The story goes that the Goldsteins happened upon a classic yacht show years ago in Southwest Harbor. “It dawned on us that people who lavish so much passion on boats want to have a place to show them when they get done,” said Goldstein. “It turns out the same goes for cars and planes. So that’s where it all began. It started small, but you can see what it’s turned into.”
The first Vintage Weekend exhibited 10 yachts, and the next year, about 20 automobiles were added. A few years later, the same would be said for the aircraft, which at the time, were literally rolled down the street and parked near the dock at the Marina. For almost 30 years, Ocean Reef Club has been host to one of the most unique weekends in the country. “You can’t do this anywhere else in the United States,” said Goldstein. “This is the only club where you can have automobiles, boats and planes all displayed in one place. We’re lucky. We’re really lucky.”
That’s what this year’s Vintage Weekend was all about – appreciating the uniqueness, the history, the tradition, of not only the event, of not only the conveyances, but of the people. As Sikora said during Sunday’s awards breakfast, “A lot of what Vintage Weekend is truly about is not so much the automobiles, yachts and airplanes, but in a large part it’s just about the people themselves that bring those conveyances here and those that come to enjoy them.”
While year after year, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team proves to be the biggest crowd pleaser of the aviation sector, some brand new additions stole the show this year.
“While we’re always striving to bring in some of the finest vintage aircraft in the world, it’s not just about the planes themselves,” said Sikora. “It’s about what our spectators want to see and in turn, creating a fun and relaxed environment where they can bond with the exhibitors over shared passions.” That is why Sikora was so excited for the debut of Jim and Jane Slattery’s very rare P-38 Lightning and two F7F Tigercats, never before seen at Vintage Weekend. (He calls the Slattery’s his “new best friends” for bringing them). To understand the magnitude of the Slatterys’ contributions, you really had to experience the planes from the ground at the Airport. They were much larger than any of the other aircraft on display, and in beautiful condition. On top of that, their history was unmatched with only a small handful of them remaining in this condition.
(Read more about these planes in the November 25 edition of the Ocean Reef Press).
Of course, the F-16 flybys down the Airport runway were another grand display of “giving the people what they want.” It was such a rare and exciting thing to see, especially right in Ocean Reef’s own backyard, that even Sikora was skeptical it would actually pull through until the minute he saw the two F-16s approach from the Homestead Air Reserve Base. If you missed it, he promises they will be back again next year.
The emphasis on crowd pleasing is never more apparent than with Goldstein’s “Spectator’s Choice” award. Affectionately known also as the “Shoes On the Dock” award, the winner of this award is always determined by you – the spectator.
Throughout the day, the Committee literally counts the number of shoes outside each yacht (or in this year’s case, the length of the line!). This year’s winner never faltered because as soon as the clock struck 10 a.m. and yacht viewing began, a 20-foot long line formed outside Chris Culver’s 1970 133’ Feadship, Cetacea. Culver himself attended one of the first ever Vintage Weekends that featured all three conveyances, and in the acceptance of his award during Sunday’s breakfast he said to the Goldsteins, “This weekend is spectacular. All of us in this room share the camaraderie of preservation and restoration and we couldn’t do it without your dedication and your vision for what this event stands for.
From all of us, Alan and Vicki, we thank both of you for having this vision.”
Parfet and Johnston, who are described by Goldstein as “having encyclopedic knowledge of cars,” have made the Concours d’Elegance blossom over the years. For the 26th annual event, they set out to feature a specific category that they believed would delight Vintage-goers, and delight it did. This year’s feature collection was the Bentleys.
“Each automobile we showcase during the Concours is special in its own way, but Bill and I thought adding this new dimension to what we already had would really excite everyone at Vintage Weekend,” said Parfet. “We scoured the surface of this great country to find these wonderful Bentley owners. They’re hard to corral and they have incredible temperament, but when all was said and done, we had 12 Bentleys in attendance, ranging from 1926 to 1960.”
The special Bentley feature did not end at the Concours red carpet. On Sunday following the awards breakfast, the Bentleys all revved their engines and caravanned from Ocean Reef for a three-day tour to Key West. “How can we get in trouble down there?” Parfet joked.
In the spirit of “giving the people what they want,” next year’s Vintage Weekend will again feature a special class, this time being Brass and Gas Cars. “You’ll see next year how quick technology evolved,” said Parfet. “These cars threw oil all over the place, so don’t get too close, but you’re going to have a wonderful time.”
What a Ride It’s Been
Vintage Weekend, over its 26-year history, has been a great ride for spectators and exhibitors alike and will not slow down any time soon. The Committee strives (and succeeds) for more each and every year. How do they sum up Vintage Weekend? Goldstein: “It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.” Parfet: “It’s one of the best weekends in the world.” And Sikora: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
To watch the video recap of the weekend, visit oceanreef.com/vintageweekend.
THANK YOU FROM THE AVIATION COMMITTEE
The aviation committee for Vintage Weekend would like to thank the entire staff of Ocean Reef Club for their hard work to make it such a successful weekend. We would also like to thank Peter Liashek and the Coast Guard, along with Public Safety and the Florida FWC, for their assistance in keeping the two boating channels closed during the air shows per requirements of the FAA.
We also would like to thank Jim and Jane Slattery for their huge commitment to bring three priceless aircraft here for us to enjoy, along with Buddy and Wendy Stallings for once again bringing back the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, a crowd favorite, for their two performances.
Vintage Weekend would not be near the world-class event it has become without the assistance of Ocean Reef Club and its associates and those who make a huge contribution to share their automobiles, yachts and aircraft for all to enjoy. Thank you for all you do.
-Lenny Sikora, Vintage Weekend and Aviation Committee