Cars pack downtown Manchester for ‘Cruisin’ on Main Street’

By Grahame Winters Slogesky - ReminderNews
Manchester - posted Wed., Aug. 7, 2013
More than 30,000 spectators were estimated to be on hand at the 13th annual Cruisin’ on Main Street car show in Manchester on Aug. 4. Photos by Grahame Winters Slogesky.
More than 30,000 spectators were estimated to be on hand at the 13th annual Cruisin’ on Main Street car show in Manchester on Aug. 4. Photos by Grahame Winters Slogesky.

They call it “Manchester’s Magnificent Mile” for a good reason: on a sunny afternoon each August, downtown Main Street - from Carter Chevrolet to Mary Cheney Library - is lined with more than 1,000 classic cars, trucks, sports cars, street rods and vintage vehicles from of years, makes and models. More than 30,000 spectators were estimated to attend the largest show of its kind in the northeast on Sunday, Aug. 4.

Along with the cars, music and street vendors were the downtown merchants taking advantage of the big crowds, with many restaurants and bars selling from a pared-down menu or offering tasty dishes right on the sidewalk.

Shannon Burk, a co-owner of Center Perk, was happy that people were discovering the restaurant, located across from Center Park. “Business was steady today. This event brings a lot of attention – we’ve only been open two months, and this is helping people realize that we’re here,” Burk said. “In addition to Cruisin’ On Main, events like Imagine Main Street really have sparked an interest in downtown Manchester.”

Cars came in from all over New England and filled Main Street’s parking spaces to the brim. The overflow of cars parked in double lines all the way down Main Street. The vehicles’ owners found a spot of shade and pulled up chairs nearby to keep a close watch on their investments – some of which are worth upwards of the price of a modest-sized home in Manchester.

Sam Dunlop and his daughter Laurie Dunlop brought their 1937 Ford sedan, which Sam has owned for 12 years. He said, “This one happens to be the same age as me - we’re both 76 years old. I took the body right off the frame. It was in pretty rough shape, but I had fun putting it together. I always enjoyed old cars.” Sam Dunlop is a member of the Ty-Rods car club out of Vernon, and attends Cruisin’ on Main Street almost every year.

This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of longtime committee member John “Randy” Thrall, who passed away in March. His 1941 vintage police car was featured as the official Cruisin’ 2013 car, to appear on t-shirts, the official Cruisin’ website and on display at the show. Additionally, the Cruisin’ committee’s Volunteer of Year Award was renamed The John “Randy” Thrall Volunteer of the Year Award, and presented to Don Janelle for his contributions to Cruisin’ on Main Street.


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