Cruise Nite’s 16th Season of fun roared back to Main Street on the First Friday of April, an event that saw a huge crowd head to the Downtown Santa Paula. A favorite of the crowd was this low-rider Tractor Trailer rig. Photo by Craig Mailloux

Cruise Nite! 16th Season of fun roars back to Main Street

April 18, 2014
Santa Paula News

Cruise Nite’s 16th Season of fun roared back to Main Street on the First Friday of April, an event that saw a huge crowd head to Downtown Santa Paula to enjoy pre-1975 cars, music, food, shopping and each other.

Santa Paulan Stan Goldstein, accompanied to the mega-car show by his Australian Sheppard “Magic” welcomed the debut of the season. 

“I’m glad it’s back,” said Goldstein, “it means we’re going to have a great summer”

Peggy Deihl-Higgins was showing off Santa Paula to her friend Siobhan Fergus of Ojai.

“Once again we’re enjoying our beautiful Downtown, the music is great and the food wonderful... and of course,” she noted, “we have Santa Paula’s famous weather!”

Ann Perez of Santa Paula was on her way to meet her brother visiting from Louisiana, “in front of the comic book shop,” while others were calling out to other passersby across streets lined with classic and vintage cars.

The First Friday of the Month Cruise Nite is held April through October from 5 p.m. to dusk. Main Street is closed from 7th to 10th streets and the Downtown is filled with cars that spill over into side streets.

Cruise Nite favorite Johnny & The Love Handles-John “Johnny” Procter is the former Mayor of Santa Paula-were fine-tuned to play old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll for the crowd that enjoys the ambiance of the historic Downtown.

Area restaurants-many that offer Cruise Nite Specials-were packed and stores stayed open to greet visitors from throughout Southern California.

Cruise Nite offers plenty to see: an old jalopy with Mission Oaks Wrecking was a favorite as was a cheery red 1966 Chevrolet Corvair, although Johnny Barraza’s tricked out 1964 Chevy van wowed the crowd that had hundreds of parked vehicles to admire.

The van had a Day of the Dead motif, traditional Mexican art and other decorations that earned it “The Most Likely To Pick Up Chicks” trophy at another car show.

A member of the Vintage Chevy Van Club, Barraza said he lives in Ventura, “But I grew up here in Santa Paula... I just saw some people I went to high school with.”

Barraza’s been displaying a vehicle at Cruise Nite for several years but his first visit was when he played with Velocity, a band that entertained at an early event. 

Police Chief Steve McLean said GTOs are his favorites and Greg Munster from Simi Valley said “Anything blue... I really like blue cars and I’m easy to please!” he noted as he admired a glimmering pearl-color classic Plymouth with delicate blue striping. 

“Mustangs!” said Jim Rath. “I like Mustangs and there’s a red one down the street!”

SPPD Reserve Sgt. Dave Curran said 10 Explorers and four officers were helping out at Cruise Nite, “As usual a beautiful community event... “

Reserve Officer Dan Krenitsky noted the event had so many people, “It was crowded all the way to 7th Street,” with admirers of classic cars.

“Do I have a favorite? No,” said Krenitsky, “I like them all”

Many Cruise Niters made a real night of it by attending a post car show concert at the Museum of Ventura County Agricultural Museum where they enjoyed music by The Barrelhouse Wailers.

Mike Sommer said he and his wife Anitra “Are here for the music first and the food truck,” AKA The Underground Gourmet, “will be a new experience.” 

“The cars were great, we had some wine,” and a snack at a downtown restaurant, and Sheryl Hamlin said now she was going to have “more food, more wine and enjoy the music... it’s a perfect night!”

Cruise Nite will return May 2.

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