With Independence Day just around the corner, Saturday’s July version of the “Hot Nights and Hot Cars” cruise-in series is sure to have a holiday feel.
According to Jerry Venable of the sponsoring Mount Pilot NOW group, a tribute to veterans is planned for the “Gasoline Alley” bandstand area on Depot Street, with veterans in attendance to be recognized during a brief ceremony.
“We always try to recognize our veterans for their service,” Venable said. “This year, we’re hoping to have Boy Scouts on hand to bring the flag in.”
The area should be full as this month’s featured band will be “The Castaways.” Organized in Durham in 1961, the latest rendition of the seven-member band uses live horns and versatile vocals for a diverse, high energy performance.
The band holds several Carolina Beach Music Awards, including their induction into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs for comfort as they relax or join in the dancing as the band provides a lively set of classics from over the years.
Other features will be familiar to cruise in fans, with the expected return of attractions including the Advance Auto Parts Classic Ride of the Month.
This month’s featured classic will be a classic 1950s Nash owned by Eddie Sutton of White Lake, NC.
Also returning will be the popular drawings, featuring a 50/50 cash prize as well as a diamond dinner ring, courtesy of Gilley’s Jewelry.
While official hours for the cruise-in are from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the event’s popularity generally causes the downtown streets to fill early as car owners claim prime parking spaces.
Owners of antique, classic, street rod, pro-street and muscle cars will be to cruise Main Street or park in one of the several designated lots. Lots are divided, with primary Main and off-Main locations designated for “classics” while secondary lots and side streets fill with spectators.
To ease parking congestion for spectators, a courtesy “park and ride” shuttle bus service will again be offered with stops at specified downtown locations every 20-25 minutes from 3-10 p.m. A bus will be carrying attendees from the two Key Street PART park-and-ride lots to the downtown area and returning them to their cars. The #1 lot is located behind PNC Bank while the #2 lot is beside Surrey Bank & Trust.