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Palace Chrysler-Jeep

Classic car cruise to hit M-24 Saturday



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June 24, 2009 - Gentlemen – and ladies – start your classic engines because the second annual Lapeer Road Country Cruise is ready to roar up and down M-24 on Saturday, June 27 from 12 noon to 9 p.m.

What started out as just an idea has become a reality for Walt Wheeler, owner of Royal Auto Sound & Security in Oxford.

He organized the first cruise last year because he wanted to be able to actually drive his car, not just let it overheat. "I was at Kalloway's and my buddy asked if I was going to Woodward, and I said 'Nah, too crowded. Then I said, we should have one here,'" Wheeler said.

And the rest is history. "I just asked the communities if they wanted to be involved, and everybody jumped right on board," he said.

Last year's cruise spanned across 18 miles and three communities – Oxford, Lapeer and Metamora. This year, Lake Orion has joined, increasing the course to 25 miles. Victor George Chevrolet in Lapeer will serve as the North turn-around and Milosch Palace Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Lake Orion will be the South turn-around. This makes it one of the largest car cruises in Michigan as Gratiot only covers two miles and Woodward, 11.

And if the website is an accurate indication of how many cruisers are planning on attending, distance won't be the only thing increasing.

"I've had over 40,000 hits since January," Wheeler said.

Last year, approximately 1,200 cruisers were on the road, but the weather was on the gloomy side for the better part of the day.

"We're expecting a better turnout this year," he said. "And that's what it's all about, is getting everyone involved. Everyone likes to cruise in their car."

Mark Young, owner of Mark A. Young Jewelers in downtown Oxford, has been a sponsor for the cruise both years.

"I was myself pleasantly surprised with the turnout last year and I think it's going to be far greater this year," he said. "Everybody better keep an eye out for Boss Hog (Wheeler) and Rosco (Young) this weekend," he added with a mischievous laughter carrying the words out.

Approximately 20 local businesses sponsor the cruise, some of which actually participate by promoting it and hosting events at their location:

The White Horse Inn in Metamora will kick it off with their 1950's Sock Hop. Food will be served out front, and kids will receive their meals in cardboard classic cars. Rich Eddy's Rockin' Oldies Band will perform from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. and there will be hula hoop, limbo and twist contests. A few miles down the road at The Oxford Tap, enjoy the live entertainment of a 50's and 60's DJ while sitting in some of the best seats of the house -on the flower-lined patio.

In addition to these sponsor-hosted events, other stops will be available along the way.

There will be a DJ from 6 - 9 p.m. outside the courthouse in Lapeer, a vendor show at the Oxford Market Place from 4 - 8 p.m. along with a DJ playing 70's music from 4 - 6 p.m. and a live 70's band, Along Came Jones from 6 - 9 p.m.

And although it is not affiliated with the cruise, the Jubilee Festival will be going on in downtown Lake Orion, and day passes will be available for $18.

"It's not just for cruisers, it's for everyone," said Wheeler.

"The idea is to have a few more intimate areas where people can actually cruise their cars instead of sitting in a parking lot, but also where they can get out and stop to shop at some local businesses," said Young. "I like the fact that it brings families out. For a day, it give car owners and their kids an opportunity to show off."

T-Shrits are available for purchase at Royal Auto Sound & Security or the White Horse Inn for $15.

The front of the shirts will display the logo and on the back is a map of the cruise along with a complete list of sponsors.

For information, please visit www.lapeercountrycruise.com.

Amy is interning at the Oxford Leader during the summer.
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