By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Car Buffs Cruise In
It may still be nearly four months away ... but classic car enthusiasts are already gearing up for the annual Escalon Lions Club Car Cruise, which will be staged in September.

The first of the hugely popular Friday night pre-cruise events outside Hula's on Jackson Avenue was staged on May 15 and resulted in a record-setting turnout.

"People have been asking about it for weeks," said pre-cruise coordinator Frank Bryan, busy directing arriving cars into empty spots on Friday night.

The Friday night gatherings have become a staple for the community, with auto enthusiasts coming in from Oakdale, Sonora, Modesto, Riverbank, Manteca and beyond to share their cars and swap stories.

"We don't have any empty spots," Bryan said, noting that late arriving cars just found a place to park, with cars all over, sandwiched in every nook and cranny of the parking lot surrounding Hula's.

Pre-cruise nights will be every Friday through Sept. 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The annual cruise is slated for Saturday, Sept. 12 at the city's Main Street Park.

"We have guys from all around, they all know about it and they all talk," Bryan said, smiling.

New this year, those putting a car in the Friday night pre-cruises will get a special ticket each time they come and another one if they enter a car in the Sept. 12 event. Grand prize is a five-day, four-night Mexican vacation cruise for two, provided by Grower's Choice, Longstreth Farms and Growers' Preference. Only those displaying cars get the tickets, said Bryan.

A sampling of the cars on Friday night ranged from a 1968 Corvette to a 1927 Dodge, Corvairs to Barracudas.

Ten-year-old Robert-Adam Briggs was admiring - and shining up - the chrome on his dad's car.

"I get to clean it," he said.

Escalon resident Carl Lang was taking a close look at the Chevrolets brought in, reminiscing about his time working at auto plants in Fremont and Oakland.

"I've always wanted one," he said of having a car of his own to restore and display.

Autumn cruise chairman John Salvin said Lions Club members couldn't have been happier with the turnout.

"This is an opening night record for us," he said of the more than 50 cars on display.

Two trophies are also being presented each Friday night for cars featured in the pre cruise events. The first two went to Doug Kyle of Modesto for his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, presented by Tina Burke and Larry Holt of Escalon, winning the Rice Bowl-sponsored trophy with his 1933 Ford Sedan.

Alan Alcock of Greeley Hill was enjoying the evening with friend Claudia Parrish of Oakdale, making their appearance in a 1928 Ford Sport Coupe.

"I'm his Friday night girl," Parrish said, chuckling.

Lion Ed Bracco echoed the sentiments of organizers that the first pre-cruise was a huge success and bodes well for the annual cruise in September.

Goal of that event is to raise money for Escalon High School scholarships and this year, the Lions Club will present 15 $1,200 scholarships to graduating seniors from money raised at last year's show.