March 4, 2024 at 9:25 a.m.

Town Talk: Exciting 2024 Cruise-in Season Ahead

By JASON ECKART | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

I developed my fascination for cars at a very early age. My father exposed me to many different cars as a small child, and I still appreciate all types and the passion for them. I remember in the garage there being the first Corvette, an early 1970s White Stingray.

Once the white vette was sold I remember riding up to Indianapolis to pick up the “new” Corvette. This Corvette happened to be a 1967 427 cubic inch convertible; I rode in the baggage compartment and my older brother was in the passenger seat. The car was noisy, but I managed to fall asleep behind the seats on the way home.

I remember sanding the car with sandpaper and seeing the car being painted its original Marina Blue. I remember riding to hockey practice before school in the car, it was always a very short ride. I always hoped for a red light so I could hear and feel things come to life as the light turned green. It made obnoxiously loud noises from the side pipe exhaust and the acceleration was pure joy. I was unable see over the dash hump, but vividly remember seeing the stingray script on the glovebox door.

I would watch my father row through the gears of that Muncie 4-speed and to see the smile on his face made me smile also. That is when I understood the power and acceleration of a car and I was hooked. It was as if the car had a soul!

I remember there being several other cars along the way as a child a MG BGT, an old 1920 Maxwell, a 1928 Buick, a Robin egg blue Volvo and a few others. Nothing was ever as exciting as that shaking, rumbling, noisy, rowdy 67 Corvette.

When I finally got my driver’s license at the age of 16, I had a Camaro for a short time and then an MG, after the MG there was another Camaro. Sometime along the way, I got a Volkswagen bus camper model, a magnificent machine carrying all my belongings. It was fun to drive, easy to repair and cheap on fuel but didn’t go very fast.

When I was a senior in college, I had a Volkswagen Rabbit GTI and there started my affliction with Volkswagen cars. I now enjoy restoring old Volkswagen Rabbits and installing very powerful V6 engines into them. There is a saying that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow and the Volkswagen Rabbit with a v6 fits that mold perfectly.

This will be my fourth year of being the chairperson of the cruise-in committee. Each year the cruise-in has grown in popularity from a small 45 car event to a now 120-car event with live music and the local community coming out to the events for the music and to see the cars. The local business establishments all enjoy the extra activities on the first Friday of each month from May through September.

May 3 the Cruise-in kickoff will feature special country act Jim Hayden and the Country Playboys and all proceeds from the event will benefit the local Main Street organization.

On June 7, we have a new band called Paradise City and with proceeds going to the Student Fund of Hope.

At our July 5 cruise-in we will welcome a fun band called Dirty Laundry with proceeds going to support breast cancer awareness.

On August 2, the cruise-in will be supporting the Hope Food Bank with acoustic awesomeness from the band 3 Beards Strummin.

The last cruise-in of the season on September 6 on the Hope Town Square will support the Hope Volunteer Fire Department and the Hope/Haw Creek Ministerial Association with music provided by the terrific local band Caddo Parish.

The last cruise-in event of the year, which will be in its second year at Miller’s Merry manor at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 5. This event is special to me as the proceeds go to researching the awful disease Alzheimer’s. The event will include a pancake breakfast and live music (no band is scheduled at this current time).

The Hope Volunteer Fire Department will be on the Town Square each month during the cruise-in events selling food and drinks along with our wonderful local restaurants.

I’m excited to see and hear the rumble of many styles and colors of cars that attend this fun event.

At each event there will be a yellow tent for registration of cars, we recommend a $10 donation. With each donation 100% goes directly to the chosen non-profit group of the month.