‘Summer’s End’ cruise-in rolls on

Take a look at the fun to be had at this year’s ‘End of Summer Cruise-in’, in the Midway business district …

Even with stormy skies overhead, scores of vehicles show up for this storied outer East Portland event, held in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The fact that one of the wettest rainstorms of the early fall had pelted the area the day before their show, the threat of late summer showers didn’t keep specialty vehicle enthusiasts from heading to the “Pizza Baron End of Summer Cruise-in” on Sunday, September 18.

Some 100 drivers rolled into the parking lot, registered their vehicles, wiped down their rigs, and started to mingle.

Ready at the check-in desk of this annual cruise-in are Marian Helm and Sherrill Whitlock.

Long-time classic car enthusiast Tate Harrison spends a moment with Pizza Baron Restaurant owners Bill Dayton, and his son Jeffrey Dayton.

“It’s been a tradition to hold the End of Summer Cruise-in here, in our parking lot,” grinned long-time outer East Portland restaurateur Bill Dayton of Pizza Baron. “It’s great to have the car club members support this; we really enjoy hosting this cruise-in, because it’s a fun, family-oriented event.”

Brian Erickson helps his buddy Mark Johnson shine up the car that once belonged to his great aunt – it’s a 1953 Mercury Monterey.

It costs nothing to come by and look at all of the classic and custom cars at this annual auto show, as this family does.

The “Endless Summer Band” returns – this year as a trio, featuring Jimmy Thompson on bass, Dan Premmer on drums, and Jeff Dean at the keyboard. The all take turns singing the melody and harmony.

Again this year, the rock-and-roll music played live at the cruise-in was by the “Endless Summer Band” – professional musicians who come together once each year to play this gig: Perfectly-played renditions of rock, country, and gospel music hits, to keep the crowd in a positive groove.

As always, the band didn’t repeat a single song, took requests, and thoroughly entertained everyone at the show – all without pulling out a single sheet of music. While playing mostly as a trio this year, some of their musician friends stopped by to “sit in” and play a set with the band.

A new feature this year at the End of Summer Cruise-in was slot-car racing – a favorite of kids of all ages.

Mark Figueroa and Robert Aldrighetti, with cruise-in sponsor O’Reilly Auto Parts, judge cars.

There were trophies galore – 40 of them – one for every class and category of entry at the cruise-in. “Most people who bring vehicles to events like this say it makes no difference if they win or not,” Dayton told East Portland News. “But they sure do smile big when they take home a trophy!”

O’Reilly Auto Parts Regional Field Sales Manager Robert Aldrighetti presents the Sponsor’s Grand Award Trophy to Kevin Ernst for his entry, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle.

For his entry, a ‘56 Chevrolet “Gasser”, Tim Helzer takes the Pizza Baron’s Choice Trophy, presented by Bill and Jeffrey Dayton.

By the time all of the awards had been distributed, the sun broke through the dark clouds, and it was summertime once again – a proud owners departed to take their cars back to the garage for the winter.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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