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CRO Champs In Action: The Thaw 2015

PhilMartin-1The weekend of April 24-26, 2015 my group, The PennsylVANia Van Council, Inc. hosted our event, The Thaw. We used to host an event in October called Summerset. Last year we decided to retire our event and host this event in the Spring. For 30 years the club I belong to, Susquehanna Valley Vans, hosted Spring Thaw. We retired the event in 2012. Another group picked up the reigns and hosted Meltdown After The Thaw for 2 years. Unfortunately they were not able to continue with the tradition of the weekend, so we decided to continue the weekend and call our event The Thaw. This is a vans and trucks event that we hosted at the Gratz Fairgrounds in Gratz, PA.

The weekend was dry as we had hoped it would be but seeing snow flying on Thursday while were setting up was not good. Fortunately they passed but the cold remained. Temperatures fell down into the upper 20’s and low 30’s at night. Brrrr…..considering we were camping out for the weekend. The wind was blowing hard but this did not damper the spirits of the attendees. We continued to have arrivals up until Saturday afternoon. We had approximately 110-120 vans and trucks attend which included host club.

Friday was move in day with attendees showing up, registering and staking out their respective spots to camp for the weekend. Afterwards they would walk from camp to camp to catch up with their fellow vanning family after the long winter here in the Northeast. We had vans from as far North as Canada, from the South of Virginia and North Carolina, West of Western PA and Ohio and East as in New Jersey. Entertainment was provided on Friday night in the form of the Dark Horse band who warmed everybody’s spirits.

Saturday came and the temperatures were still cold but it warmed up nicely by midday. We held a van show for the various classifications. Everyone shined up their vans and showed off their hard work from working on them over the winter. The ingenuity that is put into these vans is extraordinary. As well as the restoration of the older ones and upkeep on them to maintain their glorious appearances.  We had awards in Ford’s, Chevy’s and Dodge’s. As well as Best Interior, Exterior and Mural. Best of Show was also handed out as was the CRO and Gold Eagle Sponsor’s Choice award. Best of Show went to a beautiful 1977 Dodge B100 van called Stallion owned by Mike Stuprich.  with a full blown, detailed mural, well engineered engine and nice interior as well. My wife Wendy and I selected a well restored and preserved early Ford Econoline called Child’s Play and owned by Fredd Crabbs. There were also games that were played by both kids and adults alike. Awards were handed out for them as well. When the sun went down, the vans moved to the show field area that was used by the vans during the day to display their expertise with lighting and sound. This was an awesome sight as well. The band, Episode 4, started rocking and entertained everyone until late in the evening.

The weekend ended far too soon on Sunday morning and everyone broke camp and headed home. It was a great weekend and was enjoyed by all. This is our first time at hosting this event on this time honored date but not the last. We will continue the tradition for years to come. So if you ever would like to check out the vans and yes trucks too, contact me and I can let you know when our next event is or whether there may be one in your area to check out. As we say at the end, TIETIS. Which stands for Truck It Easy, Truck It Safe.

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