What began as a family conversation is now an annual event that car enthusiasts across Long Island look forward to.
It was 10 years ago when John Forlenza and his wife Cindy had two children attending St. Patrick School. Their daughter Jessica was in second grade and their son John in preschool. As parents of Catholic school children, John and Cindy Forlenza said they knew well the need for fundraising. They struggled to come up with new fundraising ideas for the school, but it was their children who came up with an idea that was near and dear to their father’s heart — a car show.
John Forlenza said he was always an avid car enthusiast. His interest in cars began when he was younger when he attended car shows with his father and spent many nights as a teenager in the garage with a kerosene heater working on his car. He is also currently the proud owner of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air two-door sedan.
So with the school administration’s approval and the backing of St. Patrick’s pastor, Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden, John Forlenza proceeded with the car show idea, starting the St. Patrick School Car Show from scratch.
Now, 10 years later, the St. Patrick School Car Show is a favorite among Long Island car enthusiasts.
This year’s Car Show is set for Sunday, April 26, with a rain date scheduled for May 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of St. Patrick Church. It will include a huge variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as a large section of movie replica cars and monster trucks.
Admission is $5 for adults, children free. Show car admission is $15 and motorcycles $5.
This year’s show will also feature the actual U.S. National Broadway Chitty Chitty Bang Bang touring car from the stage production of the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” musical, the 9-11 Veterans Car, the Mach 5 Speed Racer, the Christine 1958 Plymouth Fury with the original screen used engine, interior and body parts, and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department.
In keeping with its tradition of being a day of fun for the whole family, the show will also offer a rock climbing wall and a video game truck from Jump Around Entertainment for children and young people. A variety of vendors offer shopping opportunities for the shoppers in the family.
DJ Night Train will provide music, “blowing the dust of your most fondest memories,” the entertainer promised.
Raffles, giveaways and food will be available and, as the show takes place on the grounds of a church, a special blessing will be offered for all vehicles present.
St. Patrick Church is located at 280 East Main St. in Smithtown. For more information or if you would like to display your car or reserve vendor space, call John Forlenza at 631-588-2696.