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Classic cars to cruise into St. Teresa of Avila in North Hills

The Rev. Mike Zavage blesses John Vasalani’s 50th-anniversary Corvette during the 2012 St. Teresa Council of the Knights of Columbus car cruise at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Ross Township. Vasalani (left), of Ross, is the chairman of the event, which will be July 21, 2013, this year.

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By Laurie Rees
Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Fans of car cruises can get ready to start their engines.

The St. Teresa Council of the Knights of Columbus will have its eighth annual car cruise from 2 to 5 p.m. July 21 in the lower parking lot of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, 1000 Avila Court.

Everyone is invited to the free event.

“People have asked me why I love car cruises. They ask, ‘How can you drive your car there, park it, sit and look at other people's cars all day long?'” said John Vasalani, 72, of Ross Township, who is chairman of the event. “I don't know why I love it so much. It's a culture. You show off your car, and other people show off theirs. It's a camaraderie in a festive atmosphere.”

Approximately 400 people are expected to attend and admire the nearly 100 classic and antique automobiles that will be on display, ranging from Corvettes and street rods to a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon and a 1951 Henry J, a car built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corp.

“All the cars are exciting,” Vasalani said. “They're all collectible, highly desirable cars.”

Dick Starinchak, 76, of Ross, has been interested in classic cars for more than two decades and has been taking his '59 Chevy Impala to the car cruise every year.

“I love getting together with the people there and talking cars. It's a family-oriented event. It's a lot of fun. It's a great thing,” Starinchak said.

In addition to the cars, plenty of family fun and fare will be offered, Vasalani said.

Rock 'n' roll music from the 1950s will set the mood. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, soft drinks and homemade baked goods will be available.

A 50/50 raffle will be held, and door prizes — including T-shirts, buckets filled with detailing products, gift cards to local restaurants, and an overnight stay and breakfast for two at the Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North in Marshall Township — will be given away throughout the afternoon.

Donations will be accepted for refreshments or in general and that money and proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will benefit two programs supported by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh that help people with special needs. St. Anthony's School Programs provide educational services for children ages 5 to 21 with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities, and the McGuire Memorial Home provides services and support to those with mental and physical disabilities and their families.

The first 100 participating cars to arrive at the car cruise will receive a free 2-inch-by-3-inch commemorative metal dash plaque, and all entrants will receive a goody bag filled with drawing tickets, pens, flashlights, notepads and other assorted novelties.

“But the pièce de résistance is the bottle of ice-cold water we include in every bag we give to our participants.

“They L-O-V-E it!” Vasalani exclaimed. “You've gotta remember — It's late July, it's hot, it's sultry, and none of these cars have air conditioning!”

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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