Cool cars and hot band keep late summer cruise-in rolling

Find out why a drenching downpour couldn’t break up the ‘End of Summer Cruise-In’ …

Jenny Warr and Sandi Gabriel check in drivers at the 2013 End of Summer Cruise-In.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The fact that dark storm clouds threatened late summer showers didn’t keep specialty vehicle enthusiasts from heading to the Pizza Baron End of Summer Cruise-In held on September 15.

About 70 drivers drifted into the parking lot, registered their vehicle, wiped down their rig, and started to mingle.

After checking in, Rick Steffy polishes up his ‘57 Chevy 4-door hardtop.

Bill Dayton stands with his son, Pizza Baron manager Jeff Dayton, next to the classic car he brought to display.

“It’s been a tradition to hold an End of Summer Cruise-In here, in our parking lot,” said long-time outer East Portland restaurateur Bill Dayton of Pizza Baron,

“It’s great to have the car club members support this event,” Dayton added. “We really enjoy hosting this cruise-in.”

Cars, trucks, and all kinds of specialty vehicles are on display at the End of Summer Cruise-In.

David Douglas High Choir members Vic Liang, Gabe Braet, and Brynne Merkley sell tickets to the 50/50 drawing that benefits the choir.

Members of American Legion Portland Post #1 present the American flag.

In addition to it’s being a fun, family-oriented event, Dayton said the Cruise-In provides an opportunity for community involvement. “The American Legion does our flag salute, while the David Douglas High School Choir sings the National Anthem.”

Choir members also circulated among the rows of shiny cars, offering “50/50” drawing tickets – with their organization getting half the pot.

But Dayton, and the other organizers, looked concerned as a cold wind brought in a pelting rain storm.

Gary Parham wipes down his 1941 Willis after the rain shower.

The Endless Summer Band returns – featuring Jimmy Thompson on bass, Dan Premmer on drums, John Elmore playing lead guitar, and Jeff Dean on the keyboard. The all take turns singing the melody and harmony.

But, the “house musicians” for this event, dubbed by the event’s announcer the “Endless Summer Band”, kept playing. And within 15 minutes, the storm passed, the rain stopped and everyone came back out to wipe down their cars.

Even though these musicians play together just once each year – only at this cruise-in – their perfectly-played renditions of rock-and-roll hits kept the crowd in a positive groove. Amazingly, they didn’t repeat a song, took requests, and thoroughly entertained everyone at the show – all without a single sheet of music.

Under the baton of conductor Christopher Silva, the David Douglas High School Choir performs a stirring rendition of the National Anthem – “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

And, there were raffle prizes galore, provided by local business that supported this community event.

The East Portland News trophy goes to the 1966 Mustang brought by Dirk and Kelley Nelson.

Carl Carlson wins the Pizza Baron Award for his ‘48 Chevy Pickup.

There were trophies galore too – one for every class and category of entry at the cruise-in.

The day amply demonstrated that it takes more than a cloudburst to put an end to summer, in East Portland!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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