Chatham goes “Back to the Future” in style.By Lisa Cavanaugh | Photography by Michael and Suz Karchmer
It was a blast from the past to see two souped-up DeLoreans parked on the front lawn of the Chatham Inn at 359 Main. Inn owners Jeff and Kayla Ippoliti invited Hollywood celebrities Bob Gale and Christopher Lloyd to join them last May to support The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research with an entire week of events themed around the classic 1985 film “Back to the Future.” Lloyd, who starred as Doc Brown in the movie trilogy, said it was “wild” to see the cars again. He praised Fox, who played Marty McFly in the popular films and was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. “Michael has great spirit,” says Lloyd.
Fox founded his Parkinson’s research organization in 1998, around the same time that car aficionados Terry and Oliver Holler crafted their own road-worthy DeLorean in homage to the film. They decided to use the vehicle to raise funds and awareness for the Fox Foundation. “We just travel, fundraise and meet wonderful people,” says Terry. They connected with their old friend Ippoliti when he hosted his annual Make-a-Wish benefit in Florida. Oliver says that Jeff (“a brother in car-loving”) offered to help them raise funds to support Parkinson’s research.
Ippoliti invited the Hollers to bring their DeLorean to Chatham where he and Kayla planned a week of BTTF fundraising events, including screenings of the movie at the Chatham Orpheum Theater, and Q&A sessions attended by Lloyd and Gale, who co-wrote and co-produced the film. “People really love this movie, and now their kids do, too,” says Gale.
In addition to the screenings, the Ippolitis hosted two wine-pairing dinners at their inn and provided donation-based photo and ride opportunities in the glitzy DeLoreans (the Hollers’ and a stunt car from the films.) “We were so happy to support Team Fox and meet so many enthusiastic ‘Back to the Future’ fans,” says Ippoliti. All together, the week’s flashback fun raised more than $40,000 for Fox’s foundation.
The Ippolitis are excited to continue their trend of throwing celebrity dinner parties for charity. “We have a great facility for these events and everyone loves to come to Chatham,” says Ippoliti, emphasizing that there are so many worthwhile nonprofit organizations, locally and nationally, and that Chatham is the perfect town in which to host them.