By Wendy Wood
August 2, 2013
PILOT MOUNTAIN — Organizers are hoping for the return of sunny skies this Saturday as downtown Pilot Mountain hosts the August version of the “Hot Nights and Hot Cars” summer cruise-in series.
According to Chairman Doug Brannon of the sponsoring Mount Pilot Now group, a successful July event was brought to an early close by a fierce evening thunderstorm. Brannon noted that the sudden end was the first time in the event’s history that bad weather had caused an early end to festivities.
Both crowds and cars had again flocked to the downtown area before the storm’s onset, continuing what has been the most successful summer yet in the series.
For August, organizers are looking to see that trend continue as they bring in one of the hottest new bands on the beach music circuit.
The Carolina Breakers will be featured on the Depot Street stage as they make their first Pilot Mountain appearance. Described as a high-energy six-piece band with four lead vocalists and a horn section, their diverse set includes samples of beach, boogie, Motown, funk, rhythm and blues, classic rock and country.
Composed of veteran musicians with each supplying their own unique talents, the group received the 2011 Favorite New Artist award from the Carolina Beach Music Association as well as receiving two “Smoothie” nominations.
Music is scheduled to get under way around 5:30 p.m. and those attending are invited to bring a lawn chair for relaxed listening and to plan on joining in the dancing on the Depot Street dance floor.
Owners of antique, classic, street rod, pro street and muscle cars are, as always, invited to bring their vehicles downtown to either park or cruise. While official hours for the cruise-in are from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m., the event’s popularity generally causes the downtown streets to fill early as car owners claim prime parking spaces. By midday, the town is usually beginning to fill with classic vehicles.
Downtown area lots will be designated specifically for classic cars or for spectator parking.
In an effort to relieve parking congestion for spectators, the courtesy “park and ride” trolley service will be offered with periodic downtown stops at from 3:30 to 10 p.m. Trolley cars will be carrying attendees from the two Key Street PART park-and-ride lots to the downtown area and returning them to their cars. The #1 lot is located behind RBC Centura Bank, while the #2 lot is beside Surrey Bank & Trust.
Among regular features, the Richard Petty Museum will be returning with one of Petty’s classic racing cars. Also featured will be the Advance Automotive classic car of the month, with the owner to receive a plaque and an assortment of cleaning accessories.
Other features will include a 50/50 drawing, with ticket-holders also entered into a drawing for a dinner ring, courtesy of Gilley’s Jewelers and a drawing for a night’s stay at a lodging facility in the Pilot Mountain area.
“This cruise-in season has really gone well,” Brannon noted, “and we’re looking for that to continue. It’s been our biggest year yet in terms of the number of cars and people.
“Anytime that many people are visiting Pilot Mountain,” he continued, “they’re sure to be spending some money. That helps our merchants and is good for the town.”