Downtown Mount Airy’s next cruise-in this coming Saturday not only will celebrate automotive history in its usual big way, but veterans in attendance as part of a patriotic theme.
The city’s well-attended cruise-ins are held from June through October on the third Saturdays. The one in July is always designated as a time to highlight freedom and those putting themselves on the line to maintain it due to that cruise-in’s proximity to Independence Day.
Along with muscle and classic vehicles being decked out in flags and other symbols of red, white and blue in honor of the occasion, special recognition will be given Saturday to veterans. Even the sound system that usually features oldies during each cruise-in will get into the act.
“In addition to playing oldies, we will have some patriotic music in the mix, as well as recognizing any veterans that are in attendance that day,” explained Jennie Lowry of the Downtown Business Association. It sponsors the Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-In series.
“We would love to share the branch of service they served in as well as their rank and thank them for their service to our nation,” Lowry added. “Last year we did this and recognized 17 veterans, including a World War Two vet.”
Veterans are urged to stop by the Carlos Jones Gazebo at the corner of North Main and West Oak streets — where the songs are played and announcements made — and supply their names and service information. The gazebo also is the registration point for vehicle owners vying for awards.
Saturday’s cruise-in officially will run from 4 to 8 p.m., but street rods, antique automobiles, classic cars and other unique rides usually show up much earlier than the announced start time.
Vehicles are parked diagonally along North Main Street to allow a lane for cruising through the central business district during the events that are increasingly popular.
“The cruise-ins have their regular local following as well as drawing folks from surrounding areas,” Lowry related. “We have a couple that come almost every month from Wilmington, and had a couple from Maryland last month, too — it’s also fun for visitors who just happen to be in town on a cruise-in day.”
Lowry mentioned that the BJ’s Fry Shack food truck will be on hand for Saturday’s cruise-in, and many merchants will stay open late for the event.
Plaques are awarded during each of the monthly shows for “Cool Ride of the Month” and “Ladies Choice.”
An award ceremony takes place shortly before 8 p.m. at the gazebo.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.