Classic Cars to Cruise Down Memory Lane

Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

“They sure don’t build them like they used to!” It’s a phrase heard over and over again when spectators stroll down Memory Lane every year, better known as 3rd Street in Jamestown, enjoying the famous Classic Car Cruise-In, now rolling in for its 25th year.

For 2017, Cruise-In promises as many as 300 spectacularly restored automobiles of every kind from across the region with their chrome and paint polished like a mirror and their owners beaming like their cars with well-earned pride. The show is slated for 5 to 10 on Friday evening, August 18 along 3rd Street and as many side streets as needed between 2nd and 4th to accommodate all the cars.

“People work very hard on these cars,” said Lee Harkness, a key organizer for this year’s event, along with the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce. “Sometimes the owners invest thousands, even tens-of-thousands of dollars in their cars, along with uncountable hours, just because they love creating a thing of beauty.” Some antique car restorers spend years on the job, often recreating ancient parts impossible to find today, while for others, some modern car manufacturers actually make brand new “old” components especially for this unusual market.

“The finished car,” many restorers say, “is a true work of art.”

Memory Lane Music
“We’re doing everything we can this year to take it all back to the best of the 50s and 60s,” Harkness said. “A great local group, The In Crowd (Spire House Band), a top 7-member rock ‘n roll band, will set up at 5 o’clock in the center of all the activity – right at the corner of 3rd and Main. They will be playing live up until closing,” Harkness added. “They’ll be on stage with the most popular hits of that great mid-century era.”

Der Kobblers, the region’s best-known hot rod club, has been putting on car shows for the antique, restored, and ingeniously modified car scene since 1958, based in Falconer, NY. They have teamed up this year with the Chamber to help organize the Cruise-In event.

Family Friendly
“I’ve heard people say, ‘One of my favorite things about the Cruise-In every year is that we meet old friends we almost never see for the rest of the year,’ Harkness said. “And others say, ‘It’s the place we plan for our family reunions. It’s got a readymade party with great music and food right there, and spectacular sights to see’. Cruise-In is a great community get-together,” Harkness said.

“The Northwest Arena has been a terrific partner this year,” Harkness added. “They will be setting up free skating for any and all kids who want to come down and get on the ice.”

Contests and Prizes and Food
“What’s more 50s and 60s,” Harkness asked, “than Hula Hoops, bubble gum blowing contests and even a good old fashioned yo-yo competition?” Along with all the fun for the sidewalk spectators, according to event organizers, the participants can win a bunch of fun prizes, too.

“We’re doing our best to promote local businesses, too,” Harkness promised. “We’ll be giving out goodie bags with coupons and promotions for our local restaurants.” Street snack and beverage vendors will be stationed elsewhere, as much as possible, around parts of the event that don’t have restaurants of their own.

Keeping it Local
Cruise-In organizers have made a special effort this year to support downtown and local businesses. In addition to the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, the 2017 Classic Car Cruise-In is sponsored by Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Landmark Chevrolet, Northwest Arena and Media One Group.

“Cruise-In is all about classic cars and community fun this year,” Harkness said. “And don’t forget it’s all free. Just come on down and enjoy the show.”