FULLY LOADED – Red Deer Cruise Night has found the ideal spot to showcase hundreds of cars each Thursday night throughout the summer.

Cruise Night wraps up season on high note

The Red Deer Cruise Night has wrapped up their most successful year to date last week.

The weekly Thursday night spectacular experienced immense support from Central Alberta, said president Dave Burden.

Cruise Night is one of largest weekly shows in Canada, and brings on average 350-450 classics, muscle cars, trucks, bikes, quads and even boats.

Burden watched as the night continuously beat its own records, as up to 570 vehicles made it out on one night. “We get bigger every year by the hundreds.”

Vehicles made anywhere from 1912 to 2013 could be seen at the show.

Event organizers stepped things up this year, as they hosted four live band nights that drew car lovers from far and wide.

Cruise Night’s early days started in 2000 with Willy’s Hamburgers hosting a cruise night in their parking lot. Burden explains that after Willy’s closed their doors, Red Deer car lovers were left with nowhere to gather.

“When we would go out and cruise around, the police would kick us out of parking lots,” said Burden. “They thought that we were just out being trouble makers.”

Desperate for somewhere to share his love of cars with his City, Burden approached the Downtown Business Association for help. “We wanted their help to find a parking lot that the police couldn’t kick us out of.

“So me and about 20 of my buddies started off from there in the Prairie Office Plus parking lot and it just grew from there.”

After a few years the event began growing to the point where they were overflowing the parking lot. Another venue was in need, so they moved to the Canadian Superstore parking lot.

To Burden’s amazement they overflowed the lot they were hosting the event in on the first night. After a few years, Burden knew that his dream was catching on and started looking at new venues.

“I approached Parkland Mall, and they let us host it in the Safeway parking lot,” remembers Burden. “But it got so much attention being on the main drag that people were rubber necking to see what was going on and it started to cause traffic issues and they couldn’t get customers into their store anymore because we overflowed the lot within three weeks.”

Finally his search for the largest unused parking lot in Red Deer landed him in the northeast parking lot behind Parkland Mall where the event is still held.

“It can hold up to 800 vehicles, and is back far enough that people can see us but we’re not distracting.”

After the success of this year’s events Burden hopes that the Red Deer Cruise Night will continue to grow as it has for the last 13 years.

“I hope to have more live bands, increase vendors at the event and begin to grow support for the weekly swap meets that we’re going to begin.”

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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