Vernon is revved for a weekend full of chrome and colour as the Sun Valley Cruise-In takes over.
The show is geared up to be bigger and better with three days of events, drawing in upwards of 400 cars from near and far.
“Having a full weekend of events appeals to people coming from Alberta and Vancouver,” said Andy Freeland, Cruise-In general manager. “Plus it’s good for the community, hotels, businesses, restaurants.”
Whether it’s their pride and joy they’ve worked on to restore or a shiny new ride they’ve finally acquired, the show gives drivers of all eras a chance to share their love.
“There’s a ‘69 Mustang, it’s his dream car and this will be the first car show he’s attending,” said Freeland of an owner from Golden coming out for the weekend.
The highly popular and successful Cruise-In ran for 13 years before taking a three-year hiatus.
“It originally started in the parking lot at Watkin Motors and it grew and morphed from a one-day and a two-day event,” said Freeland of the ‘old’ show.
Freeland and other volunteers took up the challenge three years ago to bring the classic event back to town as it was in high demand.
“I went to some car shows around the Okanagan and people would see you’re from Vernon and ask, ‘When are you getting the car show back?’”
With a hand from 50 volunteers over the weekend, Freeland helped bring back the popular show, which now takes place every third weekend in July.
The Cruise-In kick off Friday with a special screening of American Graffiti at the Vernon Towne Theatre at 7 p.m.
“Some of the guys will hopefully show up in the cars in front of the theatre,” said Freeland.
Saturday features a Back Country Car Cruise, leaving Watkin Motors at 2 p.m. and ending on 30th Avenue for the free downtown car show from 4-9 p.m. An estimated 5,000 people come down for the show, which features entertainment from 6 Shades of Grey while eight blocks of downtown Vernon are closed off for the cars, vendors, beverage garden and more.
“Anyone with any antique car can come, there’s no fee,” said Freeland. “Because of that, we get different cars than you would on a Sunday.”
Sunday is when the big reveal takes place in Polson Park as registered cars shine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Within the province, it’s one of the nicest spots to have a car show,” said Freeland of the park.
An estimated 8,000 people turn out for the Polson display, cruising through the lineup and taking in the tunes of the Legendary Lake Monsters, an energetic 10-piece band on stage from 10:50 a.m. to noon.
There’s also a fun Pin-Up contest on stage at noon, open to all interested with $500 in prizes to be given away. To register for the Dixie Day event email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in showing off their classic cars can register at www.sunvalleycruisein.com or at the gate Sunday. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Come early for a pancake breakfast by the Lions Club starting at 7:30 a.m. Vehicle judging takes place from 9 a.m. to noon. Awards will be handed out at 2:30 p.m. along with draws for six retro wrapped man-cave fridges.
Winners photos on Winners’ Alley take place at 3 p.m.
The event has even given back to local charities, including the North Okanagan Neurological Association, raising more $8,000 in the last two years.