National Tailgating Day 2020

Bonnie Weed owner

National Tailgating Day falls on the first Saturday of September. In a “normal” year, the day celebrates the start of Fall’s big-game tailgate parties. Sadly, it doesn’t seem there’s gonna be much traditional tailgating for the rest of 2020. Who could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on events this year! But like all things American, be it the flag fluttering on a flagpole (you could purchase one from in the front porch to muscle cars, tailgating is just as steeped in the US culture. So, it shouldn’t stop folks from grabbing a cooler packed with picnic food, some Litchfield Distillery Craft Cocktail Cans or Spirits, and finding a beautiful New England landscape to create their own personal tailgate party.

Last year, we celebrated the day by featuring “Ole Red,” a classic 1963 Ford F-100 owned by Paul Szymanski. This year, we decided to take it up a notch and showcase not one, but three beautiful trucks, all displayed in their day-to-day environments. As you’ll see, there are similarities and differences between the trucks, but we hope you’ll agree, they each are tailgate-party worthy!

Bonnie Weed’s 1957 Chevrolet 3100

When we set out to recruit for trucks this year, we put a call out on a town of New Milford Facebook Page. The trucks folks submitted were all beautiful and worthy of consideration. But, one stood out from the others: “Gracie.” Gracie is the name of Bonnie Weed’s 1957 Chevy 3100. The pickup is so stunning even folks who entered their own trucks said, “you should pick Bonnie’s truck.”

Bonnie and her family operate a farm on Nature Conservancy’s Sunny Valley Preserve. She acquired Gracie about six years ago and today the truck has just under 110K original miles on it. When Bonnie took ownership, the Chevy was already in great shape. The paint was already restored to what you see below. To keep the paintwork in this condition, the Chevy is kept under a carport to protect it from the elements. Steel buildings are the best choice for carports and thankfully you can find steel buildings for sale online. If you’re looking to keep and maintain a classic vehicle of your own but you’ve already got a garage in your home, you may want to ensure that it’s secure and that the door is working as it should. For the safety of your vehicle, you may want to reach out to professionals for help – Lewis River Doors does garage door opener repair if yours is currently broken and not working as it should.

The first improvement Bonnie made was to add a new custom seat. Worried that the rig’s heating system wasn’t going to be very effective during the colder winter months, she chose to add heated seats — a feature not so common on a 1957 truck!

Bonnie and her husband then got to work on the truck’s bed, which arrived with a sheet of plywood lining the floor. They removed the plywood, restored the original oak planks, giving them several coats of marine lacquer, and polished the original chrome strips so they almost look brand new. New white-wall tires were added as a finishing touch.

Bonnie Weed with her son Ben.

At Litchfield Distillery, we rely on the hard work of Connecticut’s farming community to supply the grains we need to handcraft our award-winning spirits. While Gracie’s impeccable condition instantly caught our attention, witnessing the Weed’s Spirit of Hard Work ® firsthand made it crystal clear we made a great choice including their truck in this year’s showcase.

Click on the gallery shots below to enjoy more details of this gorgeous truck!

Tony & Renee Caldareri’s 1957 Ford F-100

Fans of New Milford’s Lucia Restaurant might recognize this beautiful 1957 Ford F-100 that is often parked outside the popular Bank Street establishment. Purchased about four years ago by Lucia’s owners, Tony and Renee Caldareri, the truck arrived in great condition as seen above.

Lucia owner, Tony Caldareri with his 1957 Ford F-100

Tony hasn’t made major modifications to the truck other than basic maintenance and adding a Lucia vanity license plate. The Ford always turns heads as it makes its way down Bank Street. In fact, as we photographed the rig, nearly a dozen folks called out, “Nice truck!” as they walked by.

Lucia serves up some of the area’s finest Italian food and seeing this classic truck out front lends a classic, authentic feel to the eatery’s entrance. Lucia has also been a great supporter of Litchfield Distillery since we launched in 2014. If you venture out for a meal, be sure to look for Tony and Renee’s beautiful truck and don’t forget to call for Litchfield Distillery when ordering one of their delicious cocktails!

Enjoy more shots of this classic Ford F-100!

Nick Pouder’s 1977 Ford F-150

We decided to include Nick Pouder’s 1977 F-150 because it represents The Spirit of Hard Work in several ways. Of the three trucks featured, Nick’s rig is a true working farm truck, used weekly to haul hay, transport livestock and whatever other messy stuff is required. Having been manufactured during the heyday of Ford’s “Built Ford Tough” era, we think these late 70’s F-150s look tough and bad ass. If this truck could speak, it would say, “Bring it.”

Mayapple Hill Farm owner, Nick Pouder takes a break on his 1977 Ford F-150.

Nick bought the truck three years ago and had it shipped from Boise, Idaho to his Mayapple Hill Farm in New Milford. It arrived in decent shape, but needed some work to get it back to reliable working condition. With his young daughters by his side, Nick made its restoration a family project and taught his girls how to rust proof, paint, repair brakes and the fuel system, along with replacing tires and adding a bed liner that could withstand the beating farm life would soon bring. The importance of making sure a vehicle is properly repaired and safe to drive goes without saying. Those who are a victim to the negligence of other road users and are involved in an accident should click here to speak to a personal injury lawyer. Thanks to Nick though, he has raised his family to know how to properly maintain a vehicle and keep both his children and others safe when they drive.
We love how the whole family rolled up their sleeves and worked together to restore this truck.

Mayapple Hill Farm offers a lot of great local items for purchase. In addition to farm-fresh eggs and a variety of vegetables, they offer wonderful grass-fed lamb. The farm produces wholesome and healthy meat without unnecessary additives or hormones. Learn more on their website.

Check out more shots of Nick’s rig on the farm!

Thank you to Bonnie and Ben, Renee and Tony, and Nick for allowing us to come visit and photograph their great trucks! We appreciate it!

And don’t forget, you don’t need a big sporting event to enjoy an intimate tailgate party this Fall. Just fill your cooler with our popular Craft Cocktail Cans and enjoy some premium drinks that are handcrafted right here in Litchfield, CT. You can purchase them at Litchfield Distillery or most locations that carry Litchfield Distillery spirits. Cheers!

Please sip responsibly and never drink and drive.

Written and photographed by Tony Vengrove.

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