A false threat of bad weather dampened pre-attendance at Saturday’s Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-In.
However, Main Street was still packed with classic cars and the people who love them by 2:30 p.m. for the event slated to begin at 4 p.m.
“It’s a little off today,” said Phil Marsh, Downtown Business Association president. “People thought it was going to rain. Last month, both sides of the street were full of cars by noon, and we started filling the side streets.”
Marsh noted that at 2:30 p.m., he had just filled Main Street and was starting to put cars on the side street.
“It keeps picking up,” he said, noting that the forecast of rain had failed to materialize.
By the 4 p.m. start time, the downtown was filled with car enthusiasts, and attendance looked well on its way to reaching one of the highest figures ever.
“Today, we are honoring our vets,” said Marsh. “We’re putting this on for them.”
Each month’s cruise-in has a theme, and the July show was in honor of veterans. There were a number of military-themed vehicles present.
Marsh said the car shows, which have been going on for more than a decade, bring people to town.
“My sales were good during the last cruise-in,” said Marsh, who is the owner of Something Different on Main. “And a lot of people who were here came back later and purchased something. If you keep people coming back, it’s good for business.”
“When I travel and people ask me where I’m from, I tell them Mayberry. When I go to Myrtle Beach, I take brochures with me and hand them out to people. A lot of them come to visit, and they look me up when they get here.”
Aside from the monthly cruise-ins during the warmer months, the Downtown Business Association hosts the Christmas parade, the Fourth of July parade, sidewalk sales, art walks and ladies night out, as well as sponsoring food drives and back pack drives.
“Everything we do is to bring people downtown. That’s our purpose,” Marsh summed up.
One of those people who comes downtown to the cruise-ins is Don Holder of Mount Airy, owner of a two-tone 1955 DeSoto in pristine condition.
Holder bought the car nine or ten years ago at an auction. After the auctioneer had sold off all the other items, Holder said they went behind the building to bid off the car. He got it for $1,000. Holder said he towed the car home, but had it running the next day.
Restoring the car’s appearance was another matter.
He has photos of what the car looked like when he purchased it and is happy to show them he talks to folks at the cruise-in. Far from the glossy ’50s appropriate celadon and eau de Nil green two-tone that the DeSoto is today, it appeared to have been mostly rust and some primer when Holder purchased it.
When asked about what it took to get the car to its present condition of shiny perfection, Holder merely shakes his head and mutters, “lot of money, lot of money.”
He called Aaron Chapman in Pilot Mountain to do the bodywork and paint. He said Chapman had returned to Pilot Mountain from California where he had restored cars.
“I thought the lines were pretty,” he said. “And everybody has a Ford or a Chevy. After I’d had it about five years, my wife said, ‘Either get rid of that thing or fix it.’”
Holder fixed it.
In downtown Mayberry, he found an audience of like-minded car lovers.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.