Cruise-in to rev up Main Street

By Keith Strange

June 18, 2014

If the old saying is true, that the only difference between men and boys is the size of their toys, there are going to be some big-boy toys on Main Street Saturday.

This weekend marks the first of an annual tradition, the Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-In, set for June 21 from 4 p.m., until 8 p.m., on Main Street.

The event will be held on the third Saturday of the month through October, said Phil Marsh, president of the Mount Airy Downtown Business Association and one of the organizers of the event.

Saturday’s cruise-in will feature classic cars, oldies music by WSYD 1300 Granite City Gold, several street vendors, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes for the cruise-in drivers. Awards for the “Cool Ride of the Month” and the “Ladies Choice” will be announced at 7:30 p.m. during the cruise-in.

Marsh said the choice of music is designed to complement the classic cars.

“We try to play things that would go with the types of cars at the cruise-in,” he said. “That seems to work really well.”

This year’s fourth annual cruise-in is expected to bring between 175 and 200 classic cars, Marsh added.

“Last year it was a great turnout,” he said, although a couple of events had to be cancelled due to weather issues.

For Marsh, the event is about community.

“The reason we do the cruise-ins is we have a lot of local people with some great old cars in the area,” he said. “But we also have people coming from Virginia and the Triad. We’ve even had cars from as far away as Wilmington and Roanoke, Virginia. Once they come the first time it seems they tend to come back.”

The reason for the event?

Once again, community. And maybe a little fun.

“We hold the cruise-in because we want to help the town and Main Street,” Marsh said. “We want people to come out and we want them to feel welcome when they get here. We want them to see our beautiful town and enjoy themselves and maybe come back to visit again.

“It’s just a fun event and a great way for folks to play with their toys.”

This year, merchants who post a “Stay Saturday Night” flyer in their windows will be staying open until at least 8 p.m., an initiative Marsh says is an effort to get cruisers into the downtown businesses.

“We’re trying to get the downtown businesses to keep their doors open and maybe people may drop by and buy something,” he said.

Mount Airy Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison said keeping the businesses open just makes good sense with the crowd expected.

“We want the community to know that we appreciate their support of downtown, and we’re staying open late to accommodate everyone,” she said.

Marsh agreed, noting downtown belongs to the entire community.

“Whether it’s a cruise-in or a parade or a festival, we want people to come downtown and enjoy themselves,” he said. “We enjoy this community and want to share it with others who will enjoy it as well.”

Jessica Roberts, director of tourism and marketing for the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said the cruise-in heralds a simpler time.

“The cruise-ins pay tribute to our history and past and blends our modern day town for those who come in to experience it,” she said. “It’s a popular event with many tourists and visitors from out of town and they enjoy bringing their car to main street and getting to shop and eat in the downtown area.”

For Marsh, it’s also about having fun and looking at some cool cars.

“There will be a lot of muscle cars on Main Street Saturday, and it’s always a good time,” he said. Bring your chairs and have a seat. Visit with one another. We have a nice downtown and we want people to come out and enjoy it.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.