It was a nearly picture perfect day on Saturday, the setting just right for the Escalon Lions Club 21st annual Autumn Cruise.
Classics by the hundreds rolled into town, taking up residence for the day in the city’s Main Street Park and covering nearly every inch of it with all makes and models, from Corvettes to Cobras, Indian motorcycles to classic Model A’s.
For a good cause, too, as the proceeds from the annual cruise are used to provide scholarships for graduating Escalon High School seniors.
Serving as coordinators for the event were Lions Club members John Salvin and Bud Andrew, while emcee Gene Adams kept up the music, announcements and information on the various winning tickets drawn throughout the day. There was also a live auction, with a cord of wood and a ton of hay both up for bid, bringing in several hundred more dollars for the effort.
Salvin, on the microphone, thanked participants and let them know how much of a help they truly are.
“Last year we gave out 19 $1,500 scholarships,” he said. “Twenty-five percent of the scholarships given at Escalon High School came from us.”
The autumn cruise downtown is the final piece of a long series of car shows that start with the Friday night ‘pre cruise’ events at Hula’s running throughout the summer. The September cruise wraps up the season.
Among the attendees on Saturday was Chester Graham, who had a 1974 Triumph TR 6 on display.
“It’s my first time,” he said of having a car in the show. “I like the setting and I like the number of cars that are here, I come to see the other cars, get some ideas.”
His car was a “total restoration” project, he said, rebuilding it from the ground up after purchasing it from a buyer in Don Pedro.
“It sat in my garage for 10 years,” he said.
Now, it is ready to be enjoyed by the crowd at classic car shows like the Lions cruise.
Al Due had a 1932 Ford chosen for a trophy and said this was his second year attending the Escalon event.
“There’s lots of nice cars,” he said.
Modesto resident Larry Combs entered his classic ’56 Chevy in the show.
“We have come the last four or five years,” he said. “We love it, it’s one of the better car shows.”
Other cars ranged from a 1927 T Bucket to a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix and everything in between.
There were also a number of vendors on hand with items from jewelry to candles, clothing to snacks, and the Lions Club also offered breakfast and lunch as part of the day’s festivities.
Organizers won’t know for a while yet how much they made on the show, but with more than 300 vehicles entered and on display, anticipate another good year providing scholarships.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Salvin said.