The 20th edition of the NAPA Auto Parts Syracuse Nationals sponsored in part by Meguiar's, wrapped up its three-day 2019 show July 21, in spectacular fashion with a record number of guests, vendors and money donated to charity.
All told, $76,000 was donated to local charities; $56,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York, and $20,000 divided among the Alzheimer’s Association, Centers of St. Camillus, the Food Bank of CNY and more than 15 other local non-profit groupds. Additionally, The Syracuse Nationals dontaes more than $20,000 to local Car Clubs who pay the donation forward to thier charity of choice.
Throughout the weekend, during which Central New York was hit with record high temperatures, the Syracuse Nationals welcomed more than 90,000 visitors who streamed through the turnstiles to take part in the largest car show in the Northeast.
Visitors had more than 8,000 cars and trucks to appreciate, plus six highly customized cars and trucks, invited to the show to compete for the Winfield Award, one of the most prestigious auto prizes in the industry.
Steve Mendenhall, owner of the winning car, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, was awarded the $10,000 grand prize, courtesy of Meguiar’s Car Care Products.
But Mendenhall wasn’t the only big winner during the show. Eddie and Mary Jo Williams, of Newport News, VA., won a newly Tucci Hot Rod, custom built 1932 Ford street rod, awarded during the closing ceremonies Sunday afternoon.(2019 Giveaway Car link)
Sharing the stage with Williams was Mike Mastracco, of Baldwinsville, N.Y., who won another big prize, a garage full of new power and hand tools.
Visitors also had at least 450 vendors to patronize spread across the New York State Fairgrounds’ 376 acres. Among the vendors were numerous restaurants serving everything from pizza to wine slushies, while hundreds of vendors provided auto related equipment and parts. In fact, it would be possible to tour the show and buy every single part needed to build a car from scratch.
An added bonus at this year’s show was the State Fair’s new Exposition Center, renamed the Syracuse Signature Showcase. The 133,000 square foot clear span building that the Nationals used to showcase the Winfield Select Six entrants, plus dozens of exotic cars, motorcycles, and about 45 high-end trucks and cars put on display by the building’s sponsor, the Meguire Family of Dealerships.
The air conditioned building proved to be a fan favorite for show goers who luxuriated in the pleasant climate while appreciating the Winfield Select Six, and the Transformers Optimus Prime replica big rig, accompanied by 8 1/2 & 9 1/2 foot tall Cosplay Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, who performed several times each day.
On hand in the Center of Progress building was celebrity Erik Estrada, of CHiPs fame, who played Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello, a motorcycle officer with the California Highway Patrol. ‘Ponch,’ entertained literally thousands of guests during the weekend with his welcoming personality and friendly approach to new friends.
A staple of the show has become Sparky’s Rockabilly Roundup, hosted by Brett "Big Schwag" Wagner , a gathering of cars whose owners believe they should be driven and displayed the way they are not the way they could become with a restoration. As always, the Roundup drew over 400 cars and trucks that were part of this unique 'show within the show.'
Race fans enjoyed a trip down memory lane in the Gasoline Alley area once again. Dino and his crew curated some of the most famous drag and circle track cars from all over the U.S. to display inside the Horticulture Building!
Last, but certainly not least is Artie’s party, a panel jam that takes place in the Horticulture building, bringing together about 60 pinstripe and airbrush artists from around the world, who create auto inspired art throughout the weekend that is then auctioned three times daily, to raise money for the local Ronald McDonald House.