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Parade, unexpected car chase bring excitement to Clayton


CLAYTON — It was a quiet springtime Sunday afternoon. Cars drove along Riverside Drive and visitors milled about, leisurely calling on the downtown shops.

Then, seemingly from nowhere, a bright orange Dodge Charger peeled out on the pavement, turning heads to see the smoke from its squealing tires.

A police car turned on its lights and siren and pulled the Charger over. An officer got out to approach the driver, only to watch the Charger peel out again.

The act began a parade of 44 classic and contemporary automobiles that transformed a lazy Sunday in Clayton into a day at the drag strip and a trip down memory lane. The parade culminated the three-day Two Nations 1000 Islands Extravaganza, now in its third year.

The event at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena, sponsored by the Highway Legends Car, Truck and Bike Club, featured a show of nearly 450 automobiles, live music, a craft fair and a chicken barbecue, helping to kick off the summer tourism season.

The bright orange 1969 Charger, driven by Darin Holms, Minetta, was modeled after the General Lee made famous by the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” and the police car, better known as “Roscoe’s Police Car,” was a 1978 Dodge Monaco, also modeled after a car made famous by the show and driven by Jeff Hawk, Evans Mills.

One of the highlights this year was a visit from Ben L. Jones, who played the character “Cooter Davenport” in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Mr. Jones hung out at the event Friday and Saturday, signing autographs before performing with his country band Saturday afternoon.

“He’s a very, very sweet man,” said Sara A. Ober, Watertown, of Mr. Jones. “He stood up to take his picture with me.”

For Ms. Ober and her friends, the highlight appeared to be unanimous. “General Lee and Roscoe took the show,” she said.

David J. Schryver, Dexter, emcee for the parade; Mariah L. Mentry, the Highway Legends club photographer; and Cathi P. MacNeil, the club’s secretary, acknowledged the parade and the show were down a few cars from last year but the weather wasn’t scorching hot. The event attracted several thousand people.

Some 250 members belong to the club. To join you don’t even have to have a car, just enthusiasm.

Donations were collected for the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Historical Society.

The event “went great,” said club president Rick L. Mentry as he helped volunteers clean up. “It was a fun time for everyone who came in. It’s a car show. It’s hot rods. You can’t beat it.”

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