Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Rods & Rails Wraps in Style

Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley and Perris Mayor Daryl Busch exchange greetings at the 13th Annual Rods and Rails festival. Both said this year’s event was bigger and better than ever
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley and Perris Mayor Daryl Busch exchange greetings at the 13th Annual Rods and Rails festival. Both said this year’s event was bigger and better than ever.

A record number of classic cars and motorcycles took part in the 13th Annual Rods and Rails and Potato Festival in Perris on Saturday, an event that also featured numerous bands, old west gunfighters, vintage trains and trolley cars and a puppet show from a nationally renowned performer.

Whether built from a kit or from parts scrounged in junkyards or purchased on the Internet or restored to original decades after they were built, the owners of the classic hot rods had one thing in common: making vintage cars gleam again was a labor of love.

A total of 154 classic vehicles and 26 show motorcycles were on display at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. The 13th Annual Rods and Rails and Potato Festival drew about 4,000 visitors and 82 vendors. Perris Mayor Daryl Busch declared the event the best ever.
 

Dora the Explorer was one of the cartoon characters who put in an appearance at the Rods and Rails Fest
Dora the Explorer was one of the cartoon characters who put in an appearance at the Rods and Rails Fest.

“It just keeps getting bigger and better every year,” Busch said. “We feel that in order to have a great community you have to get all the people involved and give them a chance to participate in something they enjoy.”

Temecula Marine David Boone agreed the venue was hard to top.

“This is a great venue for a classic car show,” said, a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel with more than 30 years in the military. “It makes perfect sense—classic cars and antique rails.”

Boone took the remnants of a 1922 Ford Model T pickup truck and rebuilt it from the ground up. He dropped a 1967 Corvette 327-cubic inch engine and a 1969 Chevelle rear end into the frame of the vehicle, which took him almost a year to build. He painted it tangelo orange. The original came in black. All Fords of that era came in black.
 

Daryl Ciano, of Wildomar, in front of his 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster, which was willed to him by his dad
Daryl Ciano, of Wildomar, in front of his 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster, which was willed to him by his dad.

Boone said he gets all sorts of compliments when taking the vehicle around town. One time a police officer pulled him over just to get a close-up.

“There is a sense of accomplishment,” said Boone, who served in Grenada, Beirut and Iraq. “You start with pieces of metal and turn it into a car people enjoy. And it’s fun to drive. It’s like a 290-horsepower go-kart.”

For Wildomar resident Daryl Ciano, the chance to show off his 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster Sports Sedan served as a tribute to his late father, Don, who died in 2009.

“He taught me everything I know,” said Daryl Ciano. “He was someone I looked up to.”
 

Temecula Marine Lt. Col. David Boone said his 1922 Ford Model-T pickup was converted into a hot rod that always catches plenty of attention
Temecula Marine Lt. Col. David Boone said his 1922 Ford Model-T pickup was converted into a hot rod that always catches plenty of attention.

Daryl Ciano said his dad served in the Korean War and then spent years as a mechanic in Wisconsin. He said his dad began restoring the Stylemaster in the years before he died, then left the car to him in his will. Ciano drives the car to shows around Southern California to honor the memory of his father.

“I want to show people the man who made this,” he said, pointing at the car. “It makes me feel good.”
Leo and Rita Saenz came to the Rods and Rails fest with their 1948 Fleetmaster, which represented the pinnacle of style and class for post-World War II automobiles.

Consider the amenities: pipe and cigarette holders, a rear-seat fan, an overhead hat rack, an umbrella holder, an automatic cigarette lighter,  a napkin holder, wood-grain dashboard, mohair seats, spotlights and fog-lights, a rear-window wiper blade an exterior metal windshield visor to keep out sunlight.

Leo Saenz says his 1948 Fleetmaster includes accessories unheard of today—a hat rack, napkin holder and umbrella container
Leo Saenz says his 1948 Fleetmaster includes accessories unheard of today—a hat rack, napkin holder and umbrella container.

“This was the era when people put on suits and a tie to take a drive,” Leo Saenz said.
Saenz took eight years to restore the Fleetmaster. Rods and Rails is a great place to show it off, he said.

“Everybody is very nice,” he said.

While throngs of visitors looked over the cars, ventriloquist Mallory Lewis entertained other crowds with a performance of patriotic songs accompanied by her sock puppet, Lamb Chop. Lewis’ mother, Shari Lewis, began performing on television with Lamb Chop in the 1950s and the two continued entertaining millions of people until her death from breast cancer in 1998.

Mallory Lewis, an avid skydiver, maintains a close relationship with the operators of the Perris Valley Airport. Her mother’s death prompted the airport to host “Jump for the Cause,” the 2009 skydive that
featured 181 women from 31 countries who parachuted in Perris,
raising nearly $1 million for breast cancer research and treatment.
The jump was the subject of the documentary: “Pink Skies The Movie.”

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch presents entertainer Mallory Lewis with a dozen red roses prior to her performance with her partner, sock puppet superstar Lamb Chop
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch presents entertainer Mallory Lewis with a dozen red roses prior to her performance with her partner, sock puppet superstar Lamb Chop.

“I love coming to Perris,” Lewis said. “I always have a great time.”

Mayor Busch presented Lewis with a dozen red roses before her performance.

“She’s a legendary entertainer and we are glad to have her in our City,” he said.

Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley said he could not have been more pleased with the turnout and variety of the entertainment at the festival.

“It’s a fabulous event that has grown in size and importance,” he said. “It shows the vibrancy of our City and our valley.”

Perris Deputy City Manager Darren Madkin led a contingent of City employees, contractors and volunteers who worked before and
during the festival to ensure a smooth day of fun for all visitors.
Other employees working the event included Arturo Garcia, Juan Lemus,
Jose Zelaya, Ignacio Alvarez, Josh Estrada, Walter Carter, Cynthia Quintero,
Spencer Campbell, Rachel Pinedo, Stacie Dain, Rebecca Miranda,
Sarina Brannon, Noemi Gomez, Austin Peterson, Laura Sosa and Margarita Sanchez.