For Joey, 4, and Teddy, 2, Hollendoner, the array of shiny cars at the Crown Point Car Cruise on Thursday were the life-size versions of the toy Matchbox cars they have in their collection. Marveling at some of the vintage vehicles, they excitedly proclaimed which models they have at home as their dad, Jim Hollendoner, walked with them down Main Street.
For retired resident Marty Gomez, it was a long awaited goal, decades in the making, to have his own chromed beauty to share with fellow enthusiasts.
“This was my bucket list,” Gomez said, pointing to his blue ’05 Corvette. “I have wanted a Corvette since I was in high school, that was many moons ago. I graduated in ’69.”
The fact that people of all ages can enjoy the weekly Crown Point Car Cruises is something Charlie Crowley, Special Events Sssistant at the City of Crown Point Mayor’s Office of Special Events, said he enjoys about summer Thursday nights in the square. There is also a DJ spinning classic tunes and an occasional food stand accompanying the show.
“It adds a really great sense of community,” Crowley said. “It also supports local business by drawing people into downtown to shop, eat and check out the cars.”
Bob Szot brought his neighbor’s children, ages 7 and 4, to spark their excitement about vintage cars.
“It’s fun learning about the old cars, and about engines they don’t make anymore,” Austin, 7, said.
Crowley said the final cruise of the season will be the last Thursday of September, and attendance this year has been phenomenal. Regularly at least 50 cars are out for show by groups and individuals each Thursday starting at 5 p.m., according to Crowley. They range from new models to refurbished cars from the early 1900’s.
“We have a lot of different cruises in the region,” he said. “I have talked to a lot of people who have been working on their cars for 9 years just to bring them out here for cruise night.”
For the auto enthusiasts, it is a labor of love. Especially for Bruce Penrod and his red ’57 Chevy Belair. After Penrod’s wife, Bobbie, passed away, his son rolled the classic car into his driveway. Penrod said at the time they got it, the Chevy was in “pretty rough shape.”
The father and son worked from January 2015 to June 2016 to restore the vehicle and get it in tip top shape.
“It was my first car when I was a senior in high school,” Penrod said. “We had a lot of 12 hour days working on it.”
On the back of the vehicle in silver writing and on the license plates is the name of his wife, “Bobbie.”
“We did this in her memory,” Penrod said. “And now I got hooked, I love it. I go to lots of car shows now.”