The not so subtle sound of engines roaring, the simmering smell of snacks at the many food trucks, the laughter of family of friends – that’s what Red Deer Cruise Night is all about.
What began in 2003 as a few friends gathering weekly to share their common love of anything with an engine has since evolved into one of the largest gatherings of auto lovers in North America.
Winner of the 2014 Tourism Red Deer award for Events Attractions during the Red Deer Experience Awards in April, Red Deer Cruise Night sees on average of around 500 tricked out hot rods and classic cars every week and draws a crowd from not only across western Canada but also a growing crowd from eastern Canada and the U.S.
After a longstanding residency in the northeast corner of the Parkland Mall parking lot, the growing tourist attraction has found themselves a new home as of June 11th in the parking lot of CrossRoads Church located west of Red Deer on 32 St.
Event founder and organizer Dave Burden explained the move is due to construction taking place in the mall in upcoming months but he is excited to see how the new location works out. Although the location is now out of Red Deer City limits he believes car lovers will take kindly to the new location with the open highway to ‘clean their cylinders’ on the drive out.
“It’s a bit disappointing we had to move just because we had a good flow at Parkland Mall, but change has usually always proved to be a good thing for us,” explained Burden. “By going out to CrossRoads Church we have the opportunity to start with a blank slate.
“The space will be about twice the size we have now and I think it will help to smooth things out as far as overly aggressive drivers opening up their engines in town right on 67 St. which has caused complaints in the past and I really think traffic will just flow better there.”
As the event continues to grow, due largely to word of mouth, explained Burden, their social media presence primarily on facebook has led Cruise Night to places he never believed possible.
This year alone Burden has received inquires from auto lovers from as far as Detroit, Texas and California all expressing interest in visiting the now internationally-renowned show.
Burden believes the increasing view of Cruise Night as a tourist attraction will lead to an increase in the local economy.
“With people starting to travel from further away to come see us, that means they’re going to be spending the night in Red Deer usually, they’ll be buying food and fuel here,” said Burden. “Then you have the people coming in locally from the surrounding area who might stop for supper before or after the event and maybe fuel up here as well.
“Even people from Red Deer tend to go for a drive and hit up an ice cream shop after or go for a beer or coffee – so it gets them out and gets that extra flow into the area.”
Following their big win at the Red Deer Experience Awards, Burden was determined to make the event bigger and better than ever before – creating new signage, new merchandise for purchase, and thanks to their new web site (www.reddeercruisenight.ca) attendees can check out the event’s weekly theme nights.
Check out their facebook page at www.facebook.com/reddeercruisenight.