People came rolling into Elkin throughout the day Saturday for the town’s fourth year of monthly Cruise! Elkin events. The shops were bustling, motors were chugging, and everybody was getting together for a fun day of nostalgia on Elkin’s older days.
“People just come to show off their cars, visit with people, and hang out with friends,” said Vicki Roberts, secretary of Downtown Elkin Inc. and coordinator of the Elkin cruise-in. “This is my fourth year holding this cruise. We used to have them years ago and they stopped for about 10 years and then started back up.”
Cars started rolling in around noon and cruised around town during the afternoon and the early hours of the evening. The motorcycles went on a ride that morning on the country roads. People got to enjoy food and music at the 222 Public House parking lot. All along the street, local businesses opened their doors and even set up stands along the road to treat starched guests to a nice cold drink or a slushie while on the road.
“As businesses, we’re asked to be open and be supportive of the cruise-in,” said Carrie Vestal, owner of Diana’s Books & More. “My goal each time so far is to try and have a new author here every year. We also tried something different this time. As people were cruising, we sold drinks and snacks as a drive-through to benefit the people cruising.”
The cruise attracted a lot of people from both inside and outside of Elkin.
“I enjoy the cruise-in because it brings a variety of different people to downtown Elkin and it gives life to the town,” said Vestal. “It’s so nice to have all these cars and people here and just watching the people stroll together with their friends and family down the streets, going into all the stores and just meeting all the different people.”
“My friend Ed Brown came all the way from Hutson, North Carolina,” said Dean Farmer. “I’m from Wilkes myself. I like this cruise-in because the streets are not shut off. That is a good thing. Most cruises the streets are blocked off. They can’t move. I think that’s neat here.”
Private businesses also set up shop along the street. Mary Telly of Paparazzi Accessories was invited by her friend Carrie Vestal to set up her stand outside of the book store and sell jewelry and accessories to the public.
“This is my first time at the car show,” said Tilley. “I think it’s pretty interesting. The old cars are really cool and classic looking.”
Main Street was filled with old-time cars and trucks, but some people brought their newer models out on the road to enjoy a drive.
“You see a lot of old-time cars from the ’60s and the ’70s, but also ones that are even more current that people are just proud of and wanted to bring on down,” said Roberts. “A lot of people bring whatever they own.”
One particularly interesting vehicle parked outside of Diana’s Books & More was the character car for Kenneth Summerlin’s book “Ridge Runners, A Tribute to Speedway Racing, American Style.” The car even had an autograph on the dash by Tim Smith of the popular TV show Moonshiners on Discovery Channel. A poster authenticating Tim Smith autographing the car was featured in the hood of the car.
Summerlin’s book was inspired by the Dukes of Hazard TV show. It takes place in Rockford and speaks of many places in the Piedmont Triad including Diana’s Book Store & More, Watson’s Florist & Greenhouse shop in Elkin, and other local places. According to Summerlin, the book features the nature of the show, the heart of Forest Gump, and it goes out with the racing of Days of Thunder.
“It’s Americana,” said Summerlin. “It captivates you from the first page to the last and really pulls you in. It’s a roller coaster of events and emotions. It’ll make you happy. It’ll make you sad. It’ll make you wonder what’s going to happen. The words just slap you in the face and you just don’t want to put it down.”
Summerlin’s web page is authorkennethsummerlin.com.
For many the cruise wasn’t just a time to get back together with friends and family but also to remember the town’s old days.
“It allows us to look back on old times and what Elkin used to be years ago when everybody used to congregate down here and just spend time and visit everybody,” said Roberts. “We’re just trying to recreate that old nostalgia during the ’60s and the ’70s.”
If anything, there was only one complaint about the day’s cruise.
“One thing you guys need more here is shade. You don’t have enough trees,” said Ed Brown. “You think I’m kidding, go touch that black car over there. Probably going to burn your fingers.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.