Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
Thirty-five years ago, five classic car-loving guys in Logan wanted to show off their hot rods, and so began the Cache Valley Cruise-In. The event took off and has become a long-standing tradition for locals and tourists alike, drawing about 25,000 fans to the Cache County Fairgrounds each summer on the weekend closest to the Fourth of July.
The Cache Valley Cruise-In, hosted by the Cache Valley Cruising Association, is the largest outdoor three-day car show in the intermountain region. It includes a rock concert, vendor show and swap meet, kids carnival games, fireman’s pancake breakfast and, of course, the main event, a car show featuring approximately 900 show cars including street rods, street machines, custom cars, restored vehicles, motorcycles and trucks.
“Everybody thinks the Cache Valley Cruise-In is the parade on Main Street,” Brandon Douglas, a Providence resident and member of the Cache Valley Cruising Association said. “But that is only one hour of 72 hours of the Cruise-In. The fairground are filled with show cars, we have a live DJ, there are vendors galore and all the fair food you can imagine.”
Not all of the cars make it the parade either, Brandon’s wife Jill said. “Only about one-third of the vehicles at the show go to the parade. It is hard for some of the older cars to be jammed up, so some won’t even go up there.”
Brandon agreed. “If people really want to see the cars, they need to go the fairgrounds,” he said. “The parade is a great tradition. Ever since I was 14 years old I sat up there on Main Street watching the cars, but you can’t get up close and look inside or really appreciate the cars sitting on Main Street. You need to come down to the show.”
He explained that those showing the cars are happy to answer questions and allow spectators to look inside, although they may not want people to touch their vehicles.
This year’s Cruise-In will take place June 29-30 and July 1, and will feature Night Ranger in concert on Friday, June 30.
Every year the Cache Valley Cruising Association gives away a car at the Cruise-In. The giveaway car is restored with the support of both local and national sponsors. This Brandon and Jill Douglas and their children Kassi, Jayden, Jordyn, Maverick, Porter and Jackson, of Providence, make a family event out of their involvement in the Cache Valley Cruise-In. year the Association will give away a customized, restored 1937 Ford pickup.
Admission to the Cache Valley Cruise-In is $5 for the entire weekend for adults ($1 for kids 17 and under), and that admission ticket serves as an entry into the contest for the giveaway car. “The car is given away on Saturday afternoon at 6 p.m.,” Brandon said. “But you have to be present to win. Just about every year it takes us pulling three tickets or more to have a winner present.”
The Cruise-In also includes a building full of vendors that cater specifically to women. “So if your husband drags you here, and you’re not interested in cars, there is something for you to see, too,” Jill said.
Jill’s father, John Rutledge, is the president of the Cache Valley Cruising Association, and Jill grew up attending and being involved with the show. So when she and Brandon got married they naturally continued their involvement, and it has become a family tradition of their own.
“It is amazing the friends we have made through the Cruise-In,” Jill said. “This event is part of our summer vacation and something our kids look forward to all year. They are a huge part of getting everything ready and helping the show go on.”
The event is self-sustained, but organized and put on by volunteer club members like the Douglas and Rutledge families. “All the money collected goes toward the next year’s show and giveaway car,” Brandon said.
Jill and Brandon want the community to know that the event is family friendly and something everyone can enjoy. “It is amazing how many local people have never been to the show,” Brandon said. “It is the Valley’s best-kept secret, and it shouldn’t be secret.”
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