By: Bill O’Connell
If you are a car lover and are looking for something entertaining to do on a Tuesday summer night, head over to Fulton Street in Wauseon where, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., you will find yourself among hundreds of some of the “coolest” automobiles ever to cruise the streets and roads of America.
Beginning with the first Tuesday in May and continuing until the last Tuesday in August, Wauseon Cruise Nights fills Fulton Street with classic automobiles, hot rods, muscle cars, innovative vehicles and almost every kind of “sweet ride” imaginable.
It all began in 1991 by Wauseon’s Chief of Police at the time, Paul Arruda. Chief Arruda, a transplant from New Bedford, Massachusetts, attended car shows as a young boy growing up in the historical whaling community. “They used to bring in cars on flatbed trucks and park them on the wharf,” he said. “So, I thought we could do something like that here.”
The event caught on and began to grow very quickly. Approximately 12 years ago, a group of six individuals, headed by Jeff and Jacquie Conley, took over the responsibility of the Cruise Nights. In an effort to attract more of the Wauseon community and make it more family oriented, a “Super” Cruise Night on the third Tuesday of June, July and August was introduced. Food vendors are brought in on those nights and live entertainment plays through the evening.
The number of cars participating on the regular Tuesdays typically exceeds 200 and surpasses 400 on the Super nights. August dates have the largest attendance with entries approaching 900 on the third Tuesday. Jeff cites great support from sponsors, the community and city officials for the event’s tremendous success.
“I have to say how happy we are that we have good sponsors,” he commented. “They always support us and we get a lot of support from the community. When we talk to others (car show organizers) about local support, its one of their hardest things to get and its one of our easiest. The police department comes out and helps us with traffic and other things. We’re so thankful for that.” The 2020 Wauseon Cruise Night season is anticipated to be one of the biggest in its history. Organizers chose July’s Super Cruise Night to celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary.
Bill can be reached at email@example.com
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