Thursday, May 15, 2008

Club History & Membership Info

Welcome to the web home of the Mid-Atlantic Alfa Romeo Club (MAARC), a chapter of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club, USA, covering North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. MAARC is an active organization of about 140 members based in North Carolina's Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill), with branches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area of Virginia. MAARC offers Alfa Romeo automobile enthusiasts an acclaimed High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) Program, an annual driving tour of Virginia's wine country, social events, technical support, and a monthly newsletter, The Alfa Advocate.

HOW TO JOIN: Simply click on this link: AROC USA MEMBERSHIP and check the Mid-Atlantic AROC block. Dues are $62 per year with $2 going directly to MAARC. Membership in AROC USA includes a subscription to the monthly national magazine Alfa Owner. If you have problems or questions about membership, please contact our charming and highly talented membership director Betsy Decker.

Mid-Atlantic Alfa Romeo Club
A Brief History of The Laid Back Pasta Eaters

The Mid Atlantic Alfa Romeo Club, Inc. (MAARC) was incorporated in North Carolina, November 30, 1983. The club is a non-profit corporation with the express purpose of "The dissemination of technical information and mutual enjoyment of the Alfa Romeo automobile."

MAARC is one of about 40 chapters of AROC (Alfa Romeo Owners Club). AROC was itself founded in 1958 by Dic Van der Feen and Bruce Young. They discovered that they each shared enthusiasm for Alfa's, and decided to form a club. They advertised their first meeting in the Chicago Tribune; response was excellent, and the rest, as they say, is history. AROC was soon officially recognized as the official Alfa Romeo owner's association by both the Alfa factory in Milan, Italy, and their U.S. distributor. A note was placed in Road and Track about the club in October of 1958, and the fledging groups of "Alfisti" were underway.

The MAARC chapter, covering North and South Carolina and Virginia, was started by Tom Humphrey. He had been the Michigan chapter President prior to moving to Raleigh. The first meeting was held January 14, 1984 with an "apres Christmas" party organized by Tom where many enthusiasts met for the first time. After leading the club for 5 years, Bruce Sharer took the reins with Roger Medlin as the Vice President. The club initiated its monthly newsletter, The Alfa Advocate. The articles, submitted by members, range from life in Europe to inner most technical secrets of the Alfa.

The club is managed by the Board of Directors which is elected annually by club members. The President elect chooses Directors to help manage and organize club activities. All members are encouraged to participate and to help with club events. The club, now about 140 strong, has grown continuously, spinning off a very successful Hampton Roads branch in 1996. There was also a Piedmont branch in North Carolina for a time, but it has been reconstituted into the Charlotte branch in 2006. There is also a strong contingent in the Blue Ridge area of Virginia, affectionately known as the "Hokie Mountain" group. We also have "outlier" membership in the Richmond area and in South Carolina, as well as a strong affiliation with the Corsa Rossa Italian Car Club of Winston-Salem.

The members of the club are a diverse group, whose Alfa interests range from all out racing to Alfa history. The club therefore sponsors a variety of programs that hopefully provides something of interest to everyone. There are technical sessions where experts show us how to keep our beloved Alfa's running. A drivers education program, with annual driving schools at Virginia International Raceway and Roebling Road Raceway, is available to help us explore the full potential of our cars in a safe track environment. We have annual events such as the Virginia Wine Tour in the Spring, and the Alfa Extravaganza and Hampton Roads Weekend in the fall. And, the annual Christmas party is a great way to end the year. Many members go to the annual National Alfa Romeo Owners Club Convention, which takes place in a different part of the country each year, hosted by the local Alfa club.

MAARC also sponsors a section of highway as part of the North Carolina Adopt-A-Highway program, meeting quarterly to perform this community service.

And, of course, the club has monthly meetings; the third Monday of the month for the Hampton Road branch, and the third Wednesday of the month for the Raleigh branch and the last Thursday of the month for the Charlotte contingent. Meetings are usually held at local area restaurants where the membership gets brought up to speed on upcoming events while having a nice dinner. Locations are noted in The Alfa Advocate newsletter and in the club website: pastaeaters.com. And, best of all, it's an opportunity to meet with a lot of fun folks, all of whom enjoy all things Alfa.

Ok, about the Laid Back Pasta Eaters thing - here is the story as told by our very own Mr. Bill Bean:

"During a meeting many years ago in Raleigh, our esteemed historian (UNC prof) and Alfa Expert Sin qua Non (without equal) John Hershman (I hope this is his last name!) was trying to make a somewhat serious point during a discussion. But, true to Alfadom types, several folks were talking, joking, and generally not paying attention (you may have noticed this trait in our meetings). Well, John took offense, said loudly that: "You're nothing but a bunch of Laid Back Pasta Eaters" and stormed out of the meeting. The group fell silent (not sure about this bit) and someone, maybe Ron Weddle, said: "Yep, that's us!" And so, we became The Laid Back Pasta Eaters."
Ciao for now!

1 comment:

peter said...
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