New Carlisle weekly cruise-in event makes its return

The New Carlisle Cruise-In was held on April 26, 2021in the parking lot on Main Street shared by Park National Bank and Brethren Church. KERRY ESTES/SUBMITTED
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The New Carlisle Cruise-In was held on April 26, 2021in the parking lot on Main Street shared by Park National Bank and Brethren Church. KERRY ESTES/SUBMITTED

The sun is shining, the grass is green, the leaves are popping, and some of us are hearing voices in our garages.

“Can we come out to play?”

At least that is what my husband is telling me. He thinks his 1927 two-door Model T wants to get out and run in the sunshine. On these first warm sunny days all the motorcycles and classic cars just need to get out on the road.

For some of the cars it has been two years since they were tucked away and covered with soft blankets for the winter. The pandemic’s social distancing just made cruise-ins and car shows impossible in 2020.

I think the last one we went to was the huge cruise-in at Heritage of Flight in October of 2019. That seems so long ago.

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Last summer some folks still took back road trips on their own but it has been two years since there has been a real cruise-in.

Well I’ve got some great news.

The weekly cruise-in in New Carlisle started up again this last Monday.

Ed Holbrook and Kerry Estes are the organizers again and they are bursting with enthusiasm.

Originally, the cruise-ins were held at Wot-a-Dog. It was indeed the perfect place for a cruise-in, but as the popularity of the weekly event grew, they ran out of room to park cars. Nice problem to have, eh?

Luckily, Park National Bank, then known at Security National, and the Brethren Church in New Carlisle agreed to let the cruise-in move to the sizable parking lot on Main Street between their two buildings. That is the same parking lot where the New Carlisle Farmers Market takes place and where they set up the rides for the Heritage of Flight.

That spot was perfect, according to Estes, and the weekly cruise-in grew until the pandemic hit.

Now that festivals that are careful about social distancing, etc. are allowed, it is time to restart this fun event.

According to Estes, this week 75 cars were on hand to start up the long anticipated cruise-in season.

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Estes said that on April 26 more than 200 visitors stopped by during the event between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., but not all at once. There also was a food truck and ice cream vendor. There should be different food trucks each week.

No music is scheduled because the organizers felt it was easier for people to hear each other visit from the appropriate distance. There is a lot of networking, and sharing of information that takes place at cruise-ins.

If you want to listen to Jan and Dean, you will have to bring your own music and earphones.

“Parents bring your kids,” said Estes who explained that they are always happy to see families at these events. Owners don’t mind explaining engines, etc. to young folks and of course it’s fun to see inside the cars and under the hoods.

There is no focus on any type of car or age, so the parking lot has something for everyone. I will, of course, drop by to continue my search for a 1967 Pontiac LeMans/GTO.

Each of the weekly cruise-ins will have a 50/50 drawing to benefit a charity.

Admission is a nonperishable food item for the Bethel United Food Pantry, which is always needed. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a few extra items if you hit a sale.

Right now the New Carlisle Cruise-In will take place every Monday evening beginning at 5 p.m. That is, however, if the weather is perfect. After all they have to take good care of those beautifully restored finishes.

“You know car people, they are not going so show up if it is raining,” said Estes, who totally understands because he is a classic car owner, too.

So if you show up on a wet Monday evening, don’t be surprised if you are the only one in the parking lot.

That would probably be a good time to see which local restaurants are open on Monday. After all there is always room for ice cream.