Christmas tree farm a perfect setting for vintage, classic vehicles

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The wooded and picturesque Rossi’s Christmas Tree Farm in Western Cranston was filled with a variety of vintage vehicles of all sizes and shapes – and colors – under Sunday’s sparkling sun.

For starters, people who like looking at trucks used for heavy hauling, the Phenix Avenue-based farm was Mecca from the entrance to back forest. There were even two types of trucks – oversized tow types and four-passenger recreational vehicles -- that Ron Rossi used to zip people all over his spacious acreage.

For children like Albert Dubois, 11, and RJ Fratus, 7, of Johnston – and Neal Travis, 10, of Scituate just to name a few of the many children on hand – there were many different former United State Army Vehicles to have their pictures taken in or on and by their proud parents.

Those Army vehicles were just a part of Johnston resident Wayne Martini’s unique collection of 60 one-time Army vehicles that he owns in addition to his trucking company that operates under the name of Macera & Martini Transportation.

Martini, in fact, had almost every type of old-time Army vehicle from a jeep to humvee to a tank that offered free rides for young and old alike.

Rossi, for that matter, even had one of his many old-time trucks ready for families who wanted to take a hay ride to tour his spacious and well-maintained Christmas tree farm.

All those vehicles – as well as classic cars and motorcycles and as plenty of people called “fantastic foods” were part of an extraordinary event, the Ocean State Vintage Haulers Annual Antique Truck Round-up & BBQ.

“Our members, their families and some friends look forward to this event every October,” offered Joe Pingitore III, the long-sitting president of the Ocean State Vintage Haulers who owns and operates J. Pingitore & Sons Construction and Paving Company of Johnston, offered. “The food is always great; we cook it ourselves.”

The OSVH, which is the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, used to hold their annual fall outing at such notable facilities as Governor Francis Farms in Rehoboth and Wright’s Farm in Burrillville.

“We’ve been doing this here (at Rossi’s Christmas Tree Farm) for the past eight years,” said Pingitore III, whose father Joseph Pingitore Jr. headed his family delegation that included his sister Fran Pingitore of Hasbro Hospital fame and two of his sons, Joe IV and Jonathon. “Everyone looks forward to today; we do our own cooking.”

Perhaps Joe IV, an accomplished MMA fighter who is a Coventry Firefighter, best described Sunday’s family oriented event while sitting at a round table with his friend Nicole Gasparro awaiting the one-pound sirloin steaks that were served with salad, baked beans and peppers and onions, just to name a few side dishes.

“I’ve been coming to this event for years,” Joe IV offered. “It’s always fun; you won’t get food any better than we’re enjoying today.”

Even Dave Pingitore, Joe IV’s uncle who is a Johnston Firefighter and Joe Pingitore Jr.’s brother, concurred about Sunday’s Antique Round-up and BBQ that began with an early lunch consisting of sausage, hot dogs and hamburgers and non-alcoholic beverages as well as people everywhere enjoying the OSVH’s classic camaraderie.

“This was a great day for our chapter,” Joe Pingitore Jr. offered. “We turned a good profit (from our 50/50 raffle that will carry us through the spring when we have our annual show in (Johnston) War Memorial Park.”

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