It hadn’t been held in a couple of years. And people were definitely ready for it to come back.
The 2022 edition of the Escalon Lions Club Autumn Cruise drew hundreds of entries and plenty of spectators coming in to admire the classics on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Serving as first year coordinator for the show – which has been going on for the last quarter century – was local resident Rien Doornenbal.
“I was the chairperson with a tremendous amount of help from one of the past chairs, John Salvin,” explained Doornenbal.
He said the show was one of the largest ever staged by the club.
“It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 360,” he said of the entries.
There were likely a couple of reasons for that high number of participants, Doornenbal added.
“For one thing, we had a real nice break in the weather,” he said of Saturday’s cooler temperatures, down significantly from the triple digits during the week. “The show has a real good reputation and we hadn’t been able to have it for a couple of years so there was this real pent-up demand.”
There were also silent auction items, music, vendors and an extensive array of raffle items.
Doornenbal said he joined the Lions Club and heard a lot about the car show and took an interest in it.
“I asked one too many questions,” he said, chuckling, adding that he then found himself in the role of chairperson.
But, he added, club members were “very happy” about the event and its overall purpose.
“The one thing I want to really emphasize … the reason we in the Lions Club are so excited for this project is that it has the potential to make quite a bit of money and all the money the car show earns goes to graduates of the Escalon school district,” he said.
Scholarships from the Lions Club have been provided to graduating EHS seniors for years and being able to continue that legacy is the driving force behind the car show.
“We encourage kids to apply for tech schools, business schools,” he said, adding that scholarships can go to those pursuing a traditional college education or the alternative options, such as tech training.
Best of Show this year – the top award of many presented at the show – went to Clarence Bosman of Tipton, with a 1969 Plymouth GTX.
Participants were coming in early Saturday morning, a steady stream of classics winding along Main Street and pulling in to spots in the park.
“It’s a great atmosphere here in the park,” noted Michael Adragna of Modesto, who had his 1955 Chevy Bel Air on display. “You’ve also got the breakfast by the American Legion and the Valley Inn, if you want to go there and have a sip or two.”
A pristine red 1956 Ford F-100 pick up displayed by Jack Anderson of Lodi also drew some admirers.
“It’s a fun one,” Anderson said of driving the vehicle. “It drives like a car.”
Doornenbal said he anticipates serving as chairperson again next year and expects another good show, based on the turnout and reactions from the 2022 event.