Thursday, July 5, 2012
Classic hot rods and show cars will fill the square when LaFayette’s Downtown Development Authority hosts a cruise-in Saturday evening, July 7.
“We’re trying to promote more events,” said Michael Lovelady, DDA chairman and owner of One-Eleven Restaurant. “We don’t want people to have to leave their hometown to have something to do.”
Lovelady said he recalls a time — about 35 years ago — when there were activities that kept people both young and old in town. That is no longer the case, and many now travel to Chattanooga, Dalton, Fort Oglethorpe or Rome for social events, he said.
“Our city center has lost its attraction, lost it to Hamilton Place,” said Lovelady. “We, the DDA, are trying to promote more downtown events, like this cruise-in.”
The gathering Saturday will be a hybrid of a cruise-in, open to all, and a juried car show. There is no charge for the event.
“Fort Oglethorpe attracts car owners from Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville and Chattanooga for their monthly cruise-ins,” Lovelady said. “Cruise-ins appeal to all generations and we hope to draw from that broad an area too.”
Lovelady not only heads the DDA, he is also a self-described “car nut” and, along with Wolfgang Geiger, is the driving force behind what is becoming a regular event.
“We like the same things and have the same interests,” said Geiger, who owns Elite Custom Paint & Body. “We have a passion for old cars.”
His shop specializes in the restoration of old/classic vehicles to showroom condition and the Austrian native said he expects to see plenty of classy cars and happy faces at Saturday’s event.
“There will be groups of people going from car to car having a good time. It’s like a party,” Geiger said.
There will be door prizes, a 50-50 drawing and dancing to classic songs, but the main attraction will be more like a beauty pageant for vintage vehicles.
Lovelady said one unique item is expected to be the city’s first fire truck, a 1926 American LaFrance fire engine ... “if we can get it started.”
The DDA has scheduled another cruise-in for Saturday, Aug. 4, with others to follow into the fall, he said.