Car cruise-in draws thousands to kick off car club’s new season
Published 11:22 pm Saturday, April 2, 2022
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BY IVAN SANDERS
The streets of Elk Avenue in downtown Elizabethton were overflowing on Saturday as thousands of car enthusiasts made their way to the opening night of the Carter County Car Club’s first cruise-in of the year.
The event is the first under the city’s new guidelines, which restrict chairs and setups before 5 p.m.
“I know that we had a call or two where we moved cars out of the traffic lane before 5 p.m.,” said Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw. “There were some older vehicles for the car show parked here before five, but they were legally parked on the street.
“There is a big crowd tonight and there were folks staging and waiting on 5 p.m. to get in. It’s been a constant flow of cars trying to get in to park and some leaving. I have been up and down both sidewalks and there are some chairs, but they aren’t blocking any businesses and seem to be in spaces where they aren’t blocking any doors.”
The stores that were opened appeared busy and some business owners set up tables outside to try and entice shoppers.
A shaved iced and funnel cake cart set up was doing good business on the first night.
“I was looking forward to getting back to the cruise-in a lot,” said cart owner Josh Deaton. “I have already talked to people from Spruce Pine, NC, Greeneville, and Abingdon, VA. I have been doing this since 2006. I don’t know why these businesses close during the car cruise-in.”
Car enthusiast John Coleman came from Greenville for the show. “I absolutely love coming to Elizabethton’s car show,” he said. “What’s not to love? You can find all kinds of great-looking older vehicles to look at as well as some newer ones. My family and I look forward to coming up about every weekend during the cruise-ins.”
Some participants questioned why not all businesses were open. Officials estimated that 65 percent of the businesses along Elk Avenue closed on Saturday.
“This is a terrific car show because it’s in a nice town and on the main street and has all kinds of different cars to look at,” Mike Holler said. “The only bad thing is I wished there were more stores open like the Coffee House. I love to drink coffee. It’s going to be a big day and they should at least be opened to 6 or 7 p.m.”
Councilman Michael Simerly was walking through the street around 7 p.m. checking to make sure everything was going well.
“It’s a family atmosphere – just look around at all the families that are here,” Simerly said. “We are thankful as a city for all the people who come to the cruise-in and look at all the cars. They are all the way down to the river tonight. People just want to get out of the house and enjoy the evening. We all love this town.”
The cruise-ins will continue through October on Saturday nights from 5 to 9 p.m.