Cruise-In returns to downtown

Published 10:55 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

NW0402 Car Show Comes Back

Downtown Elizabethton will be transformed into a car lover’s paradise as hundreds of cars will line the streets as the Carter County Car Club’s Cruise In returns this Saturday.

The show, held every Saturday night from April to October, is open to all makes and models of cars from any year of production and is free for participants and observers alike. The Cruise In averages 200 cars and 2,000 spectators on an average night and closer to 500 cars and 3,000 spectators during the larger annual show in July.

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“The array of cars, the different colors and styles, the chrome will take your breath away,” car club member Ron McCloud said. “It is a bright, cheery place to be. There is a great hometown feel to be in downtown Elizabethton on a Saturday night with friends.”

McCloud said if the weather cooperates, the first show could be one of the biggest of the season.

“If we have good weather, we could have 300 cars Saturday night,” he said. “It could be one of the biggest shows of the year, except for the annual show. People are ready to be done with winter and get outside and enjoy the weather.”

In addition to the wide variety of cars to be found at the show, the Cruise In is not just a car event; it is a “people event” too, McCloud said.

“For local visitors it is the people who keep them coming back,” he said. “They can socialize with people they know and it is a friendly environment. A lot of people find there are people here they know and haven’t seen in a while, but they can see them here. It is definitely a people event too. It is just a good excuse to come out and get together.”

Visitors to the car show enjoy the “safe, family” atmosphere of downtown while looking at the cars on display, McCloud said. Some of the downtown businesses remain open for spectators to come in and shop while in downtown and there are a number of dining options available.

“Out of town visitors come for the cars but it is the friendly atmosphere that keeps them coming back,” McCloud said. “The atmosphere of the car show is special. It is great to look to the end of the street and see Lynn Mountain and the Monument.”

The Cruise In is not just a chance for people to spend an evening enjoying the company of friends and looking at classic cars. It also provides the Car Club with a chance to raise funds that is then distributed to local charities.

In 2014, the club raised and donated almost $20,000 to different community organization, which is an increase from the amount that was donated last year. The car club has donated over $165,000 to area charities and organizations since 2005.

The club has donated to the Carter County Imagination Library, every Elizabethton city and Carter County elementary school reading program, Toys for Tots, Children’s Evangelistic Fellowship, East Tennessee Christian Children’s Home, the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton and  the Carter County Angel Tree.

The money that was donated was raised through club member dues, sponsors, T-shirt advertisements, entry fees from drawings during car shows and purchases of club materials, such as T-shirts.

The Car Club would like to add to the amount donated to the community by including a donation bucket featuring a different non-profit each week at the car show, McCloud said.

“We are hoping to do more with our donations this year,” he said. “We hope, by having the donation buckets out, we will be able to give more money right back to the charities.”

The Cruise In is held in downtown Elizabethton every Saturday night from April 4 to October 31 from 5-9 p.m. In addition to the regular car show, the club will be participating in their large annual show scheduled for July 11 in downtown Elizabethton.