The strong smell of exhaust lingered along a stretch of Rosser Avenue on Thursday evening as local car enthusiasts gathered for the first Cruise Night in Downtown Brandon of the year.
The main downtown strip was almost fully lined from Sixth Street to 13th Street, which was shut down to allow pedestrians a closer look at the diagonally-parked vehicles.
Vigorously wiping down his 1977 Z28 Camaro, Brian Clark readied his 550-horsepower prized car for fellow automobile enthusiasts’ enjoyment.
The exhaust kicks up a fair amount of dust that needs wiping away, he explained, adding; "I’m fussy about it. I like it nice and clean and pristine."
A longtime participant in Brandon’s monthly summer automobile enthusiast get-togethers, Clark said that the event is like a reunion for local area vehicle fans.
"You get to know people when you do this, so it’s a nice social outing as well," he said, adding that while there’s a lot of repeat attendees, there’s always a batch of new vehicles to look at as new people come on board and existing enthusiasts fix up more rides.
"Nothing’s ever the same when you come down here," he said, adding that while he’s showing a Camaro now, he’d previously shown a Corvette that he has since sold.
Thursday’s show included an eclectic blend of vehicles, which participant Art Asham said is always the case at the downtown event.
His vehicle, a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia, was one of the more unique vehicles, perhaps trailing behind a classic "Ghostbusters" style ambulance that was parked nearby.
The Volkswagen included two fold-down beds, a pop-up table, a sink, fridge and all the makings for a decent road trip vehicle.
Asham has joined wife Bonnie on a number of such road trips, to both west and east coasts and special trips to Vermont and New York State.
With others daydreaming about taking similar such trips in the vehicle, Asham said that he has received a lot of offers to buy it, which he has easily turned down.
Flattered by these offers, Asham said that it’s always nice to show off a vehicle that takes its owner quite a bit of dedication to maintain.
As a longtime visitor of the car show, Craig Senchuk said that he has spent years showering praise on others’ vehicles, "dreaming about cars you’d like to have."
About two weeks ago, he purchased a 1978 Ford Highboy F-150 4X4, which he showed off for the first time on Thursday.
"My first time putting a truck in is a pretty good feeling," he said.
The truck’s six-inch factory lift, with an additional six-inch lift, have drawn the eyes of many, he said, including his 14-year-old son Alex, who has taken to driving the truck around their Carberry-area property.
One of the event’s organizers, Dave Burba, said that more is being planned for subsequent events, with rock group Tripwire slated to perform at their July show.
This year’s events mark something of a renewal for the annual effort, with sponsors brought on to promote the events and younger members taking to social media to help pump up interest.
Thursday’s event was the first of five, with subsequent events scheduled to take place along Rosser Avenue from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 1, July 6, Aug. 3 and Sept. 7.
Those interested in showing off their vehicles are encouraged to enter the event at Rosser Avenue’s intersection with 13th Street.