By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

It's going to be sunny, and it's going to be a party.

The northern state's most popular classic car show, Sea Cruise, is taking over downtown Crescent City this afternoon and the weekend as hundreds of shiny paint jobs line the streets and 1950s tunes fill the air.

Put on by the Crescent City Car Club, Sea Cruise is perhaps the biggest event and draw of out-of-towners this community puts on each year.

andquot;It's bigger than the Fourth of July. Every hotel gets booked, and as those fill up, some people have to get a room in Brookings,andquot; said Evert Young, president of the Crescent City Car Club and member of the club since it started in 1990.

Now in its 12th year, Sea Cruise has evolved into an event that creates an entire atmosphere of classic nostalgia, thanks to the behind-the-scenes work of the car club members and the Crescent City Chamber of Commerce staff.

Downtown streets will be closed to through traffic this afternoon and into the evening to allow the 400-or-so classics can take over.

The spectacle will begin today about noon when, traditionally, participants' cars start rolling onto Third Street to register and park for the show and shine.

By 4 p.m., the street will be blocked off and the entire length of Third Street between Highway 101 and G Street will be lined with showroom-quality rides. Spectators can get a close look at the cars while their owners perform a pre-show buffing ritual.

Crescent Sound Machine will also be on Third Street, adding atmosphere with 1950s and '60s tunes playing from modern speakers.

By 6 p.m., most other downtown streets will be blocked off for the Parade of Cars. At 6:30 p.m., the classic showpieces will drift over to Front Street to line up to tool the loop through Crescent City to let gawkers get an eyeful.

Afterward, the streets open up, and the fun starts again Saturday morning, as the cars file into Beachfront Park for the judging.

Starting at 7 a.m., Saturday, the day's activities at the park begin with an Auto Swap Meet. Then at 9 a.m., food and marketplace vendors start selling their wares, and at 10 a.m., the car show and judging begin.

andquot;We have 52 classifications of cars and we give out two awards for each one. Then we have eight major awards, including 'Best in Show,' for a total of 112 awards. And that's what makes this show so nice,andquot; Young said.

It's also what makes the organization of the show such hard work, he said.

Young and the other car club members beat the pavement each year to find local businesses willing to donate to the cost of the event.

This year there are six major sponsors who donated between $500 and $1,000. They include Lucky 7 Casino, Elk Valley Casino, Coast Auto Center, Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority Used Oil Recycling Program, Kragen Auto Parts and Taco Man.

Four other donors who gave about $250 to the cause were Del Norte Office Supply, Ming Tree Real Estate, Les Schwab Tires and Brookings Harbor Ford.

Beachfront Park activities usually last until about 5 p.m., with the award ceremony beginning at 4 p.m.

To keep the good vibrations going, an historically well-attended Sea Cruise dance and professional music performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. The band andquot;Papa Doo Run Runandquot; will provide the live, vintage tunes. Tickets are $20 per person.