This weekend, lots of history will be rolling into town on four wheels, as the River City Cruisers hold their Car Show in the Park on Sunday, Sept. 8., in the lower CIty Park. Cruisers President Doug Smith says this will be their 20th year to hold the event and they are expecting lots of cars. Registration is Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
One of the things Doug stressed is many car clubs are comprised of couples and out of those couples, the women are more active in those clubs than the men. Because of that fact, it isn’t too hard to get participants to come to a car show in Hermann, with the shopping, history and wonderful restaurants and wineries Hermann has to offer.
Doug has been involved with the car club since the early 90’s, owning a 1948 Chevy delivery van that he displays at shows. He’s working on a ’62 Chevy, which like all the guys and gals in car clubs with their projects, are a work in progress. One might say it’s a sickness.
“Down in the Park this week, there will be literally millions of dollars worth of cars,” he says. “Most of these guys know that they will never-ever get their money out of them. People just do it because they love the cars.”
Doug says the emotions run deep.
“For a lot of them, it was their first car, or like their first car,” he explains. “Or it was like the car they wanted to have when they had their first car.”
Doug grew up in Newburg, near Rolla and his first car was his parent’s car—a two-door ’62 Chevy sports sedan (“Surprisingly, enough!” he said, referring back to his present work in progress).
When he got to college, he was able to purchase a blue ’69 Nova, and the feeling of owning that car never left him. He says nostalgia is what brings people to car shows.
“You just can’t believe the number of times you might be out with your car, not necessarily at a car show, and somebody will come up and say, ‘I used to have one just like that,’ or ‘My dad had one like that.’”
He says this show is unique because a lot of shows restrict what they show.
“We let anybody that’s proud of their car, bring it,” he says. “We have new cars all the way back to the 1920s. You can see almost anything at our show.”
And what would a car show be without music of the 50s, 60s and 70s to fuel all that pent-up nostalgia? Rhineland’s Alex Heldt will be serving as the resident DJ for the day.
This event coincides with the club’s regular Cruise Night on Friday, with a meet up at the old Hardees parking lot. The group puts together a meal for out-of-town participants on Saturday evening down at the Riverfront Park before the day of the show on Sunday. The Cruisers will provide a shuttle service from the show to downtown businesses for the convenience of those that want to explore all that Hermann has to offer out-of-town guests.
For the kids, the popular scavenger hunt is on, for the club’s “Bring a Kid to a Car Show” program. A youngster and an adult try to find a variety of items that are related to classic cars and trucks. Once an item is found and photographed, it’s on to the next one. Kids who score at least 15 of 20 answers correctly will be entered into a drawing to win cash prizes.
The show’s success is based not only on the number and quality of cars visitors bring to Hermann, but also from the generosity of local sponsors. This allows the River City Cruisers to give back to the community in the way of student scholarships and donations to benevolent programs in town, such as the Backpack program, Park Pride, Special Olympics, Hermann Families in Action, Hermann Area Crusade Against Cancer and for immediate community financial needs.
“We always get a large group of local people who come and look, which is another unique thing about our car show.” He says it’s great to have the hometown support, because when it comes down to it, who doesn’t like looking at cool cars and trucks that take you back to a time when you were 16?