The organizers of last weekend’s 28th-annual “Sea Cruise,” featuring hundreds of classic roadsters from across the region, couldn’t have asked for better weather or a better event.
Cindy Vosburg, the Crescent City and Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce executive director, was effusive. “It was awesome,” said Vosburg.
“The perfect weather helped so much. In my memory, it was the best in 12 years, the best for Show & Shine, the best First Friday, the best Sea Cruise and Brews,” she said.
“You saw a lot of people enjoying hot rods, with a lot of owners making and renewing acquaintances, making a lot of car clubs happy.”
Vosburg said the main-event car show on Saturday featured 248 entries spread out over Beachfront Park, coming up a little shy of the 300 entries the chamber had hoped for.
Jason Bartholomew, president of the Northern Knights Car Club - co-sponsor of “Sea Cruise” - said the turnout by comparison was up from last year’s rainout, although down from 2017’s 333 registrations.
“Doing research, that correlates with rainouts,” said Bartholomew. “The following year’s attendance is generally down.
“One thing that was brought to my attention - I hadn’t thought of it - gas is at a five-year high. We had a lot not make the trip from Redding, where it’s $4.20 to $4.40 a gallon.
“So, we’re not disappointed at all with the turnout. We’re pleased with it.”
Vosburg said the car show featured entries from 26 different clubs, with 16 members of the Curry County Cruisers winning the participation award.
She said the long-distance honor went to a couple who drove 830 miles from Black Foot, Idaho to attend the event.
The Best in Show and Best in Paint awards both went to Salem resident Chip Chipman’s orange, 1941 Willys Coupe.
Del Norte County Sheriff Erik Apperson’s restored 1950 Dodge Coronet, converted to a period-correct law-enforcement cruiser, won the Chamber Award.
And the Northern Knights Car Club Award went to a 1955 Chevrolet Gasser, featuring the moniker Bad Behavior.
Kicking off the three-day extravaganza was the “Downtown Diva’s Live From Downtown: It’s First Friday” event. Divas president Billy Kaye Gavin-Tygart said the third go-around of tying the event to Show & Shine and Sea Cruise & Brews was a charm.
“We started ‘Live From Downtown’ three Augusts ago,” said Gavin-Tygart. “This third time at ‘Sea Cruise’ really meshed. Last year was rained out; this year was a great turnout, with a ton of people and cars. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
She said holding the downtown event of music, vendors and refreshments in the Tri Counties Bank parking lot, smack in the middle of the Show & Shine on 3rd Street, went much better than when it was at the outskirts in the former clocktower parking lot.
Also experiencing better participation was the weekend’s wrapup event, the annual poker run, a fundraiser for the Del Norte Senior Center. Participants purchased a playing card at five stops along a 25-mile cruise up the coast through the redwoods and back to the senior center in their classic cars. The best poker hand won prizes.
Val Butcher, the senior center’s fiscal manager, said about 50 participants raised $525 for the center, up from $200 last year. A silent auction and raffle sale – and an anonymous donation that paid for the tri-tip barbecue - netted an additional $3,433.
“It’s probably the biggest year we’ve had. We profited by $4,200, which is big for the senior center,” Butcher said. “All the proceeds go back to the center for building maintenance, painting, repairs, and new chairs for the exercise group.”