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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2008

Car buffs will 'cruise-in' for classic event in Genoa

BY MEREDITH BYERS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Joe Badger of Genoa owns 11 cars and trucks of various vintages and is participating in Genoa's three 'Super Cruise-Ins.' Joe Badger of Genoa owns 11 cars and trucks of various vintages and is participating in Genoa's three 'Super Cruise-Ins.'
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Joe Badger remembers helping his father fix up his pick-up truck back in 1974. He's been hooked on cars and trucks ever since.

Mr. Badger, 46, a lifelong resident of Genoa, owns 11 cars and trucks of various vintages and is one of many car enthusiasts participating in Genoa's three summertime "Super Cruise-Ins," the second of which is slated for Tuesday.

The "cruise-ins," held in June, July, and August, began last year after a local business owner and member of the Genoa Car Club suggested the village should offer such an event for the entire community.

Main Street is closed to regular traffic downtown between Sixth and Eighth streets and a bevy of cars, many of which are restored antiques, lines the streets. Families amble through, admiring the cars and chatting with their owners.

The events, which are free and open to the public, were an immediate success and have drawn large crowds.

"We really have raised the bar - it's been great," said Sharon McCullough, the Genoa Chamber of Commerce president.

Ms. McCullough said that despite high gas prices, Genoa residents keep coming out for the event. June's cruise-in featured 139 vehicles and four motorbikes, many of which are historic and have been restored.

"We were very surprised [by] the number of cars that turned out despite the economic times," she said.

Individuals who have cars in the event register and receive tickets. Throughout the evening, there are drawings for various prizes from Genoa merchants for ticket holders.

The event features a 50-50 raffle sponsored by the chamber of commerce. Proceeds from this year's first raffle were given to the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District in Genoa, while proceeds from Tuesday's drawing will benefit the American Legion Post of Genoa. The Genoa Band Boosters will benefit next month.

The cruise-ins are moderated by a man identified only as "Zeake," who announces the cars and plays classic music on his "oldies machine" throughout the evening.

Marilyn Reeder, media coordinator for the chamber of commerce, said several restaurants will set up sidewalk grills and prepare food for purchase in downtown Genoa.

"You see families walking around. It's just a very nice evening," Ms. Reeder said.

The event is sponsored by Charlie Palmer & Sons, an automotive repair shop in downtown Genoa, Genoa Ford, Genoa Chevrolet, and Gordon Lumber.

Local businesses donate prizes for the car owners. The evening culminates when the grand prize, a $100 gas card, is drawn.

Mr. Badger said he's eager to attend the event Tuesday.

"Showing my car is great, but I like to look and see what everyone else has," he said.

Ellen Bergman, a member of the chamber of commerce, also enjoys attending the "cruise-ins," but for different reasons.

"I love seeing the amount of people and the fun they're having," she said. "I love looking out and seeing multiple generations of families at the event.

"It's a wonderful example of small-town America. It's a great way for people to learn more about our community."



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