by Chris Harris
Another October, another close to the Somernites Cruise season.
This weekend brings to a close the 2013 Cruise slate, and it’s without doubt been one to remember.
Who could forget the appearance by the stars of the hit movie “American Graffiti”? Or the Darlings of the beloved “Andy Griffith Show” sitcom? Drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits stopped by, and Cruise-A-Palooza was born.
“We’ve had a super season,” said 2013 Somernites Cruise president Keith Floyd. “We’re on schedule to have the second-best season ever, attendance-wise.”
So far, the 2013 Cruise has averaged 1,060 cars per month. The high-water mark was in 2007, at 1,113.
“We’re thrilled with the year we’ve had,” said Floyd. “Every show has been up (in numbers) over last year, basically.”
And why go back? The bigger feel to the season due to the wealth of celebrities to visit is something Cruise team members would like to continue in the future if possible.
“We’d love to do more of that,” said Floyd of the marquee strategy. “We loaded up this year pretty heavily in hopes that it would really push this year up. The only drawback is that it costs money. As long as our kind friends and sponsors help us do things like that, we can plan on a lot more of it.”
This month’s featured attraction is the “Tri-Five Chevy Get-Together.” The unforgettable line of Chevrolet cars from 1955, ‘56 and ‘57 will be on display in the “Show and Shine” area, always a popular attraction at the Cruise.
“The ‘55 was the first year of the mass-produced small block V8, which is the basis of hot rodding for everyone,” said Floyd. “The ‘57 Chevy is the most iconic car there is, with the tail fins. It’s the most recognizable one. Their popularity is unreal.”
There’s also the Pre-’63 Hot Rod Showdown. All owners of cars dating from 1962 and older are welcome to bring their vehicles — customs, Rat Rods, Lead Sleds, Flamethrowers — to the party.
“We should have a good mix of those,” said Floyd. “If we have any Flamethrowers in attendance, we’ll have them put on a demonstration.”
Since it’s October — the season for Halloween — a costume contest is certainly appropriate, and true to form, it will have a car-related theme: Yes, it’s a “car-stume” contest. There will be prizes and different age groups.
“We encourage everyone to come dressed as their favorite car personality or favorite car part,” said Floyd. “Sparkplugs, engines, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, you name it.”
Festivities kick off Friday with the Early Bird Meet & Greet at Danny’s Rod Shop on North U.S. 27 as usual, followed by the monthly Rock & Roll Block Party, sponsored by Walmart, at 6 p.m. on the judicial center plaza.
Saturday starts with the “Fun Run” to Cumberland Falls State Park, with those interested gathering at the Hardee’s South location at light no. 22 at 8 a.m. for a free breakfast, then departing at nine to see the one-of-a-kind waterfall and gorgeous scenic location.
Cruise entrance gates open at 1 p.m. At 6 p.m., the giveaway vehicles that Cruisegoers have been buying tickets for all season will be raffled off — first the 20-foot enclosed utility trailer donated by Gatormade, and then at 6:30 p.m. the 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible.
“We thank both of those sponsors very much,” said Floyd. “We’ve been selling tickets to those all year.”
Individuals are encourages to bring canned good to build a “mountain of love” of cans, dry goods and personal care items in downtown Somerset to benefit local meal bank God’s Food Pantry. End the weekend with Cruise-A-Palooza at the Somerset Mall, with snacks, live music and more, following the events downtown.