“Come Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Original – That’s become a classic!!!” say the flyers for this upcoming, well…classic. For three decades now, the event brought a variety of cars for display and a drive. “They’ve come for years,” says Joel Buchanan, heading up this year’s event. “For the longest time, this was one of the biggest cruises in the Midwest,” he adds. This 30th Anniversary of Cruise Nite also marks Buchanan’s 7th year with the Jacksonville Cruise Nite Association. The committee is additionally comprised of other car-lovers or supporters, including: J.R. Heady, Jerry Lewis, Richard Lyons, Mike McKean, Don & Susie Myers, Steve & Bea Pahlmann and Stan Peters.
Not only is Cruise Nite celebrating its 30th birthday in Jacksonville, but it also has new changes this year. The event will use a one-day layout (Saturday only!) and this year’s date is a weekend earlier than normal (it’s usually the 4th weekend of September). Plus, Cruise Nite 2014 is back on Morton Avenue. The last couple of years were off the main drag in Jacksonville, but as Buchanan explains, “We’re going back to our roots of cruising.” The one-day layout will create a full day of activities from 9am to 9pm on Saturday, September 20. The “Car Show” portion of the day starts at 9am in Community Park and features a variety of happenings throughout the day, which you can actually check out in detail in their ad in The Source. A special note about the “Car Show” component, adds Buchanan, is that “we’re unique as we’ve always kept it free for all the participants. That’s thanks to all our great sponsors, donations, and freewill donations.” As the display of cars comes to an end at 3pm in Community Park, the participants will get ready to cruise the strip, beginning at 5pm. The “Cruise” part of the day will “have lots of presence to keep the event safe and secure,” assures Buchanan, as he wants Cruise Nite to be a positive environment for all the participants and spectators.
There are sure to be all sorts of vehicles, thinks Buchanan – anything from a Ford Model T or A to later models. Buchanan has seen ’57 Chevys, 409 Impalas, ‘Vettes, a ’38 Lincoln Zephyr, a DeLorean (just like in Back to the Future!), and some movie car “clones,” such as the American Grafitti Coupe. “No matter what your car interests are, there’s something for everyone,” assures Buchanan.
All said, the one-day Cruise Nite 2014 is sure to bring out car aficionados and event-goers alike. The event will be super family friendly, with a lot of different events going on for both adults and kids; special vendors will be set up at night, with a lot of sponsors setting up displays, as well, Buchanan explained. At the end of the event, profits from the sales of t-shirts (which feature Buchanan’s own 2002 SVT Lightning and Heady’s brother’s 1932 Ford), 50/50 drawings and other profits will be donated back to the community to a local charity that benefits most this year. Buchanan noted that cars of committee members are featured on the event shirt each year – “They were nice enough to use mine on the logo this year,” Buchanan smiled humbly. So, whether it’s in your “Little Red Corvette” or your “Low Rider,” you had better “Get Your Motor Runnin’” and head out to Cruise Nite 2014.
For additional Cruise Nite information, contact Joel Buchanan at (217) 473-1122, or Steve Pahlmann at (217) 243-1975.