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Thunder, engines rumble on Cruise Nite

More than 3,000 attend annual event despite early rain, storms

Published: Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 9:28 p.m. CDT
(George Lamboley - For Shaw Media)
Landon (left) and Addison Wright, of Seneca, receive Spiderman masks from a Cruise Nite attendee on Saturday afternoon in Seneca.
(George Lamboley - For Shaw Media)
Eileen Biros, of Mazon, looks down the long line of automobiles as they enter Seneca Cruise Nite on Saturday afternoon. Biros rode in her husband's truck, an ongoing project since it was traded to the family for a wagonload of oats in 1987.
(George Lamboley - For Shaw Media)
Toby Ristou, of Ottawa, stocks the shelves of his mobile sales unit. Ristou represented J.C. Whitney, an auto parts supplier located in Utica. He attends around 20 cruise night events throughout the season. "It's a nice way to spend a day outside of the office," Ristou said.

SENECA – Thunder, rain and the rumble of unique automobiles accompanied the annual Seneca Prairie Shipyard Cruise Nite on Saturday.

Heavy rain moved through the area in the morning, with clouds breaking in the late afternoon.

As the sun peeked from behind the clouds, cars began filing down Main Street toward their designated positions. The slow trickle was narrated by Jim Stuckey of 3-D Sound Company.

Stuckey announced the make and model of each car entering, promoting the various causes raising money through the event.

As Main Street filled with an array of exotic modes of transportation, families made their way through downtown, socializing and catching up on the closing summer’s excitement.

“It’s really become a huge social event for members of the community,” Seneca Public Property Commissioner Gary Hamilton said. “People get a chance to get out of the house and talk to one another as well as support the many local organizations who use the opportunity to raise funding.”

All the vendors present at Cruise Nite were local nonprofit organizations, Hamilton said. Several tents lining the street offered goodies, such as hand-squeezed lemonade and a “walking taco,” offered by the Seneca chapter of the Delta Theta Tau Sorority.

People of all ages remained in the streets as the sun set and the raffle drawing was completed. Charlene Wienrich of Seneca walked away with a cash prize of $2,500. More than 50 door prizes also were given away. Half were distributed at random based on car numbers, while the others were chosen based on correct answers to trivia questions.

One hundred and four cars entered the event, according to the Cruise Nite Committee. The event usually draws more than 300 cars, but the early rain and thunderstorms prompted many to keep their pristine vehicles at home.

“I was set to bring down my 2014 Camaro, but I don’t let it get wet and wasn’t about to take a chance,” said Darryl Markson of Morris. He still made the trip, only in his wife’s car.

The low attendance didn’t keep the event from a profitable and positive ending, according to members of the Cruise Nite Committee. More than 3,000 attendees took part.

“The rain definitely kept people away, but all the vendors were happy to be here and we want to keep this event alive in the coming years,” Hamilton said.

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