PILOT MOUNTAIN — Never content to rest on past success, organizers of the “Hot Nights and Hot Cars” cruise-in series are continuing to add features as they look to build on a winning formula.
The popular cruise-in will return today with its expected regular features and a new addition from Bridgestone-Firestone.
According to Jerry Venable, chairman of the sponsoring Mount Pilot Now group, plans are for the “Drive A Firestone Tour” (DAFT) display to be on site featuring a race car, tire education, a racing simulator and more.
Other features will be more familiar to cruise in fans, with the expected return of attractions including a display from the Richard Petty Museum and the Advance Auto Parts Classic Car of the Month.
Also returning will be the 50/50 cash drawing and a drawing for a dinner ring, courtesy of Gilley’s Jewelry.
While official hours for the cruise-in are from 3 to 9:30 p.m., the event’s popularity generally causes the downtown streets to fill early as car owners claim prime parking spaces.
Owners of antique, classic, street rod, pro-street and muscle cars will be allowed to cruise Main Street or park in one of the several designated lots. Lots are divided, with primary Main and off-Main locations designated for “classics” while secondary lots and side streets fill with spectators.
To ease parking congestion for spectators, a courtesy “park and ride” trolley service again will be offered with stops at specified downtown locations every 20 to 25 minutes from 3 to 10 p.m. The “Good Time Charlie” trolley car 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.
Featured July artists will be a favorite band from past years, the Fantastic Shakers. The award-winning beach music band, hailing from Lincolnton, has been performing for some 36 years. Over that period, the group has garnered a pair of “show group of the year” awards and three albums of the year while lead singer Bo Schronce has been named male vocalist of the year on four occasions.
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs for comfort as they relax or join in the dancing as the band provides a lively set of classics from through the years.
According to Venable, last month’s addition of food vendors proved a success with both patrons and vendors.
A new challenge for this month will be presented by the recent closing of the N.C. 268 bridge over U.S. 52.
”But if everybody follows the detour signs or the directions on our website,” Venable said, “it should be fine. Leaving after dark may be more of an issue for those who aren’t familiar with the area.
“We’re again expecting to have people come in from across the state as well as from Virginia and West Virginia,” he continued. “Weather permitting, it should be a really good weekend.”