By Dave Coon and Beth Holcomb
The 100th year of the Tin Can Tourists was celebrated in a big way this year at the Northeast Regional Rally at Sampson State park in Romulus, NY. Officially, the rally ran September 12 – 15, 2019 but many participants arrived a day or two early to get the party started. This year a record 97 rigs and 200+ people attended, taking over two loops within the park and coming from all over the Northeast region and beyond. The rally included traditional elements as well as some new offerings that were a hit with everyone!
Check-in was smooth and the welcomes were warm with everyone receiving a “swag bag” full of rally information and goodies, as well as a special TCT Centennial yard sign for all of the attendees to proudly display at their sites.
Festivities began on Thursday night under the giant party tent with pizza, iced tea, lemonade and wine. The new Northeast regional representatives, Dave Coon and Harry James, welcomed everyone and introduced their team of rally organizers – Brandon, Diane and Eric Clayson, Bill Fletcher, Beth Holcomb, Hunt Jones, Rhea Keller Knittel, Mike Marshall, Ed Moore, John Peck and Christine Swalgin. New TCT members were invited to stand up in front of everyone for their initiation and shockingly, it seemed like there were more people standing than there were sitting down! Following dinner, Hunt Jones presented his Centennial Presentation, “TCT – 100 Years of Rolling History” to a standing room only crowd.
Friday morning started off with coffee and donuts followed by Gerald Freitag’s presentation on the history of the Serro Scotty Company. Folks spent the day decorating their rigs, hanging lights and browsing/buying/selling throughout the two loop’s flea market. A Hawaiian themed happy hour brought everyone together for drinks and snacks, followed by the arrival of two food trucks – Silo Food Truck out of Ovid, NY and Pizza Posto out of Geneva, NY. The food trucks were a brand-new addition to the rally, replacing the chili/mac & cheese cook-off. Both trucks offered delicious food made with locally grown ingredients and were a huge hit! An impressive live band, Anything & Everything from Rochester, NY, got everyone out of their chairs and on their feet for three hours of non-stop dancing. While everyone was rocking and rolling inside the tent, outside the wind was whipping at an estimated 30 MPH. The high winds prompted many to batten down the hatches, including their light displays, however, many did leave their lights blazing for the light show.
Saturday’s weather forecast was somewhat ominous but thankfully, the day turned out to be sunny and dry. Everyone was treated to a fantastic pancake and sausage breakfast with all the fixings, including real maple syrup. Diners were treated to a “camper pajama” parade in order to cast their eventual vote for the “best camper pajamas” award.
The five-hour long public open house was attended by a record number of visitors who were able to tour both loops, view the exteriors/interiors of the rigs and chat with the owners. Judging for awards was also opened up to visitors for the first time in the “People’s Choice”, “Best Interior” and “Best Tow/Trailer Combination” categories. The Silo Food Truck came back, set up shop between the two loops and had a long line of customers for several hours.
Immediately following the open house was a happy hour and catered BBQ dinner. The votes were tallied and awards were given out to the following attendees:
- People’s Choice #1 – Nancy and Harry James
- People’s Choice #2 – Kate and Dave McGrath
- Best Interior – Nancy and Harry James
- Best Tow/Trailer Combination – Dawn and Don Hoeh
- Best Friday Night Lights – Phyllis Miller
- Best Camper Pajamas – The “Flamingyrlz”, a.k.a. Christine Swalgin and Crew
- Long Haul Award – Phyllis Miller (from Moline, IL)
- The Rusty Ball Award – The Garretson Family
- Best Period Dress – Paul Knittel and Rhea Keller Knittel
- Spirit of the Event Award – Brandon Clayson
The second band of the rally, Remembrance, took the stage and delivered three hours of rock n’ roll oldies. Some people chose to sit around their campfires and listen to the music playing in the tent. Either way, it was a great way to end the day.
The saying “all good things must come to an end” was certainly apt on Sunday morning when new and old friends gathered for coffee and donuts and to say farewell to each other. One by one, rigs packed up and pulled out of the park for the drive home. It was truly a special celebration of 100 Years of Rolling History and the next 100 years will undoubtedly be just as amazing!
PHOTOS – Dave McGrath, who attended the rally and is a professional photographer, took all of the pictures for the rally: https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/bbdbe286998a4d95a66df61f681acfe0