Car show responds to city rejection
‘Slap in the face’
Members of the Lowriginal Car Club are upset that their show proposed for Point Gratiot in the city of Dunkirk was voted down by the Common Council last week without explanation.
“They’re comparing us to other car clubs, because those clubs keep changing names,” member Joe Colon told the OBSERVER. “We’ve had the same name for the past seven years. We have had a show every year since 2016 in Westfield. We want to bring it down here because it’s a bigger park and we’re running out of space over there.”
According to Colon, in 2019 the show brought in 562 cars and it practically doubles in size every year, so the space is desperately needed. “We want to show everybody what we’re about. Yes we’re a car show and a car club, but we want to become more, we want to make it a community thing,” Colon added. “It was kind of a slap in the face, because they didn’t give us an explanation. They didn’t even let us explain ourselves to them, they just saw ‘car show’ and they denied us. Instead of saying ‘no,’ they could have tabled it and talked to us first.”
Josh Sorrento, founding member of the group explained a bit of their history and what they are hoping to achieve with their shows in the future.
“In our first year we lost our friend Mike Edwards Jr. (the Dunkirk fire chief’s son),” Sorrento said. “He was one of the founding members of the club and when we lost him to colon cancer we decided to put on a show to help the family to deal with medical bills, the funeral costs and everything, we also donated to Roswell for cancer research. We did that for the next few years and then last show in 2019 we actually donated the proceeds to a local family whose son was battling cancer.”
Sorrento explained that the group doesn’t profit from the shows at all, they’re 100% charitable events.
“Our collective goal is to turn it into more than just a car show,” Sorrento added. “We want to make it a community day.”
Sorrento went on to discuss how he is aware that there have been problems with other car clubs and unfortunately Lowriginals has been lumped in this situation.
“I know that there’s been some problems with multiple clubs over the past few years having car shows there and just getting too rowdy,” Sorrento stated. “We think that definitely painted a bad picture for the car community and unfortunately they’re associating that with us and it’s a very unfortunate thing that we’re getting grouped in with that.”
What really upset the club was that following the Feb. 2 Common Council meeting where the resolution approving the show was tabled, the group had requested to meet with the council members to explain their group and shows further before a final decision was made.
“We requested to actually meet with the council before they made their final decision so that they could see who we are and what we’re about, that we’re not like certain other car clubs and that we’re more about the community versus just about ourselves and cars, but we never got that chance unfortunately,” Sorrento said. “We spoke with a couple city employees, that we would possibly get an opportunity to talk with the council about it, and then the next thing we know, we’re finding out about it being voted down. They didn’t contact us to tell us it was a no go or anything.”
Sorrento believes the whole situation was unfair to the group as they were led to believe, having filed paperwork and paid deposits already, that the show was going to be approved without a hitch.
“We were under the impression that everything was going well and we ended up starting to promote the show and then four days after we started promoting it we were told that it was a no go,” Sorrento said. “We were never given a reason, we’re upset about it because it’s just a lot of unanswered questions.”
The Council voted down the car show’s application with a 3-2 vote at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting with the three “no” votes belonging to Third Ward Councilman James Stoyle, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Nancy Nichols and Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver.
“I think that the park is getting overtaken by these car groups,” VanDenVouver stated at the Feb. 2 meeting of the Common Council. “This park is for people to utilize and walk their dogs and use it. It seems like these car shows are every month and the way they’re conducting their businesses down there with revving their engines and the loud music. There’s just a ton of complaints. They’re parked outside the park trying to get in there the night before. If they do want to have any car shows in the future I think we move them over there and alleviate the problem.”
The group said it is still moving forward with their show in Westfield again this year unless something changes.