— A picture-perfect Pulaski County weekend will have many people saying, “Mmm” — that’s three M’s, for May, Memorial Day and Mopars. “There’s good weather in the forecast,” said Mark Hansford, Somernites Cruise Team Member. “The place to be is outside and there’s no better place than Somernites Cruise.” As is so often the case, the Cruise has dovetailed with the always-big Memorial Day weekend — bigger this year than in recent memory because Lake Cumberland has risen back to its pre-Wolf Creek Dam crisis pool level. Hansford isn’t sure exactly how the two local visitor draws have symbiotically benefited each other over the years, but knows there could be a connection. “People know Memorial Day is a long weekend coming up; I like to think they put Somernites on their calendar,” he said. “We always have real strong first-timer numbers in May. That may be correlated with the fact that it’s a long weekend.” Hansford added that the Cruise has sponsor hotels in Somerset, and as of Wednesday, there were only six rooms remaining, out of about a thousand. “I don’t know specifically here for Somernites Cruise, but I’ve got to believe a large portion are,” he said. If they are, then they’re probably here for “Mopar Mania.” That’s the specialty theme this month, now in its ninth year as the May featured showcase. It’s a celebration of cars made by iconic American auto names Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth (as well, noted Hansford, as American Motor Corporation or AMC, due to its being purchased by Chrysler). The popularity of those brands seems an apt fit for Memorial Day, inspiring a sense of Americana in the form of car culture. As part of it, Don Marshall Auto will be holding a “Mopar Mania Pre-Party” at the dealership Saturday morning from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., another May tradition here in Somerset. When at the main Somernites Cruise event Saturday in downtown Somerset, those with a mechanical knack can try their hand at a special contest, the Holley Challenge sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts and Holly carburetor manufacturers. “If you work in a garage and wrench on stuff, you’ll probably be ahead of somebody that doesn’t do that on a daily basis,” he added. “If you think you can put it together the fastest, you could walk away with a free (carburetor).” Chris Harris is a staff writer at the Commonwealth Journal. He can be reached at: email@example.com
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