Wet, cool weather could put damper on October cruise
BY CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
Last month’s Somernites Cruise featured a house made of pumpkins on the square. Cruise Vice President Mark Hansford is hoping for something else this weekend — maybe a giant dome over the city.
“It’s not looking food for Saturday’s weather,” said Hansford. “(The weather report says) it’ll be about 50-60 degrees, with about a 50 percent chance of rain.”
Of course, like the old Postal Service motto, neither rain nor snow nor sleet deters Somernites Cruise, and “we’ll be there” no matter the conditions, promised Hansford.
“We’ve gotta wrap the season up,” he said. “We’ve had days where it rained all day and still had 1,000 cars show up. We’re committed.”
Indeed, October marks as always the final Cruise event of the season. And just as with the weather, even rising national gas prices and other pinches to the pocketbook haven’t stalled the Somernites motor.
“As of right now, we’re averaging 1,129 cars per show — a new record,” said Hansford. “The last half of the year, we’ve really had a lot of momentum.”
That’s thanks in large part to the largest number of cars the show has seen, 1737, in September of this year.
“We think we’re one of the few shows that’s actually growing as far as participation,” said Hansford. “Last months we had 240 first-timers, people who had never been here before.
“That’s the amazing thing about Somernites — even with the economy in the tank and gas prices going up, we’ve been fortunate enough to see growth,” he added, “and we hope that pays dividends for local businesses.”
This month, the always-popular Tri-Five Chevy Get-Together is back, celebrating a beloved era in the iconic car company’s history.
Chevrolet models from the years 1955, ‘56, and ‘57 make up this month’s showcase. This includes trucks and wagons.
“They share a similar chassis, a lot of the same parts, although all three (years) are distinct in their own way,” said Hansford. “They all have minor cosmetic changes to the body and styling of the car.”
The most popular Chevys come from that era, he noted, and perhaps the most recognizable — even the Somernites Cruise logo itself features the tail fin of a 1957 Chevy.
“It’s just one of those elements that people readily identify with classic car culture and history,” said Hansford. “The people who own them and drive them are passionate, hard-core enthusiasts. We thought we’d offer a showcase as a way to show those rides off.”
In other Somernites Cruise October activities:
• “Coats for Kids” donations will still be taken. Hansford said that about 50 new or gently-used coats and gloves have been received so far but more are needed for elementary and junior high-age children — as well as hoodies, which Hansford noted are what’s in demand for high school-age students.
All collected items will be turned over to school resource personnel who can better identify children with the greatest need. Residents who can’t make it to the October show are asked to drop off their donations at Key Cleaners in Tradewinds Shopping Center or the Serenity Salon in Science Hill during regular business hours.
• All year long, people have been buying chances at the 2012 raffle car, a classic 1974 B5 Blue Dodge Challenger. Tickets are $5 each, and people can still buy chances right up until the drawing, which will be later in the day Saturday — you don’t have to be present to win. The Challenger raffle is sponsored by Don Marshall Auto.
Also being raffled off is a 20-foot enclosed GatorMade trailer, donated by the locally-located company.
• The annual “Fun Run” to Cumberland Falls on the border of McCreary and Whitley Counties will take place early in the day. Those participating will meet at Hardee’s South on U.S. 27 for a free breakfast, then head out on the road at 9 a.m. for a scenic drive to a stunning waterfall known as “the Niagara of the South.”
• In the spirit of Halloween, Crusiegoers are encouraged to dress up in era-appropriate attire for the “Hot Rod Gathering” of cars from the 1950s and ‘60s, featuring rat rods, flamethrowers, lead sleds, and surf wagons.
• Today, the “Meet & Greet” at Danny’s Rod Shop on North U.S. 27 will kick things off at noon, and the Wal-Mart sponsored downtown Block Party begins at 6 p.m.
• Hansford warned that this weekend will be the last chance to buy an official 2012 Somernites shirt to commemorate a one-of-a-kind season in the car show’s history.
“When they’re gone, they’re gone,” he said. “We won’t reprint them. If you want one, come downtown and get it!”