Great tunes and high spirits makes Midway Business Association Cruise-in a success

Find out why the threat of dark storm clouds and a couple of early fall showers didn’t dampen the spirits of those who went and had a ball at the ‘End of Summer Cruise-in’

At the registration table, volunteers David Edwards of David Edwards Insurance and Donna Vanderberg register the entrants to the 2011 End of Summer Cruise-in.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although unseasonably stormy weather for mid September threatened to wash out the first “End of Summer Cruise-in” sponsored by the Midway Business Association (MBA), more than 60 classic, custom and specialty vehicles were on display throughout the September 18 event.

“Although we’ve held the ‘End of Summer Cruise-in’ here in our parking lot for many years,” said MBA’s president, Bill Dayton of Pizza Baron, “This is the first year it’s been sponsored by our neighborhood business district.”

Dayton, and the other organizers, had concerned looks on their faces, until cars, trucks and motorcycles started braving the weather and streaming into the giant parking lot at the southeast corner of SE 122nd Avenue and SE Division Street.

Beth Morlan wipes down her 1991 Corvette Coupe, getting it “show ready”.

This animated-looking conversation is – no surprise – about cars!

The Cruise-In, we learned, was hosted by the business association this year for several reasons; including to:

  • Increase capacity by increasing awareness that the MBA is the singular local representative of businesses to the city, and whose function is to promote the prosperity of local business;
  • Promote community building by reaching out to traditionally underserved communities – this free, family-friendly community event attracts participants and attendees from widely diverse communities;
  • Increase awareness of the role that VenturePortland plays in supporting and funding the business district; and,
  • Provide funds for the David Douglas High School Choir.


Rain or shine, people love coming to look at custom and classic vehicles at the cruise-in.

Terrie Casey of TK Embroidery tells folks about the Midway Business Association; City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Specialist Rosanne Lee gives out neighborhood information at the event.

“In addition to the cruise-in itself,” Dayton added, “This event provides an ideal outreach vehicle to encourage other businesses to join with the MBA to provide a greater voice for business people in outer SE Portland. It also demonstrates our commitment to serving our business community.”

Many area businesses donated raffle prizes. Contributors to the event included the Rossi Family, FootPrint Designs, Clay’s Trophies & Awards, Franz Bakery, Pizza Baron, Dr. Day Chiropractic, Tony’s Garden, Goodyear Tires, NAPA, Car Quest, Classic Rides, True Legends, Ace Hardware and TK Embroidery.

More than 60 vehicles are on display for visitors to admire.

Here’s the MBA End of Summer Cruise-in’s “house band”: On bass, it’s Jimmy Thompson; Dan Premmer on drums; John Elmore on guitar; and Jeff Dean on the 88s. We named them the “Endless Summer Boys”.

While the weather remained dreary for an outdoor event, a four-member rocking band kept spirits up by expertly playing the perfect mix of tunes. “We played music together when we were young,” said keyboardist and singer, Jeff Dean, who has toured with many top musical acts. “It’s fun to get together and play the music we know and enjoy.”

And play they did! Set after set, the nameless group, dubbed the “Endless Summer Boys” by the event’s announcer, didn’t repeat a song, took requests, and thoroughly entertained everyone at the show. Many cruise-in exhibitors said they’d considered leaving the event after the first rain shower, but, as one put it, “This band is just too dang good to leave now! I’d pay to see and hear them any night!”

Under the baton of conductor Christopher Silva, the David Douglas High School Choir performs a stirring rendition of our nation’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

MBA member, and Portland City Commissioner, Amanda Fritz congratulates Bill Dayton of Pizza Baron for his tremendous contribution to making the event a success.

The crowd was delighted to see Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz stop by the event to look over the vehicles on display.

“I’ve seen beautiful cars and trucks here,” Fritz commented. “And, I’m especially impressed with the resiliency of East Portlanders, willing to come out under cloudy and rainy skies.”

Commissioner Fritz thanks the crowd for coming out to support this community event.

More than an invited guest, Fritz pointed out that she joined the Midway Business Association as a regular member – paying with her own personal funds – earlier in the year, “because they asked me to join”.

“Events like these really do help bring the community together,” Fritz added. “Look around; I think everybody’s having a really good time. With the fun raffle, and the great band, this is a great event.”

Surrounded by members of the David Douglas High Choir, choral program director Christopher Silva hands David Edwards his winnings from the “50/50” fundraising cash raffle drawing; Edwards donates the money back to the Choir program.

Fred Wunsch accepts from Bill Dayton the MBA End of Summer Cruise-in “Peoples Choice” award for his ’39 Ford 2-door sedan.

Many members of the Classic Rides Car Club also come out winners – and all of them gather to pose with their awards.

While several MBA volunteers were on hand to help stage the cruise-in, all acknowledged and thanked Bill Dayton to being the “sparkplug” of for it – the person responsible for its success. In turn, Dayton thanked Brad Vanderberg for contributing his time, effort and expense to help organize and produce this fine event.

Also the organization thanked the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations (now called Venture Portland) for the grant that provided the seed funding to host the cruise-in this year.

Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood volunteer (and outgoing Spirit of Portland Award winner) Tom Barnes, and Donna Dionne of Love Boutique – together they ran the event’s raffle program – count up the proceeds with volunteer Lori Boisen of Advertising in the Bag.

Midway Business Association next meets on October 11
Come learn about this business group dedicated to helping neighbors and businesses improve the southern end of Outer East Portland. Remember, visitors ARE welcome and the presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch). Venture Portland (formerly APNBA) executives will tell how they are helping Portland’s business districts thrive. Their meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Ave., just south of Division St.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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