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Tuesday event draws nostalgic vehicles, vibe

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE LaMont Kucker stands beside the 1950 Chevrolet pickup he will show Tuesday at this year’s Cruisin’ Downtown Worthington.

WORTHINGTON — Come Tuesday night, downtown Worthington will look like a scene out of “American Graffiti,” with classic cars parked along the street and classic tunes wafting through the air.

The third annual Cruisin’ Downtown Worthington will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday on Worthington’s 10th Street. The road will be blocked off to allow for the display of classic cars, trucks, antique tractors, fire trucks and other conveyances.

“It’s definitely an event that we have seen grow every year, with new stuff added all the time,” said Amanda Walljasper-Tate, chairwoman of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee, which organizes the event.

DJ Barry Roberts will spin the classic tunes that will be a perfect accompaniment to the showcase of classic vehicles.

Vehicle owners are asked to register in advance at the Chamber, but last-minute additions are also welcome, Walljasper-Tate emphasized.

“We’ve had a lot more cars signed up ahead of time this year,” she said, “so we’re really excited, and we expect to get a lot more in the days ahead. … There’s still plenty of time to register, and people can just show up that day. We’ve extended how much of the street will be blocked off to accommodate more vehicles.”

LaMont Kucker of Worthington has committed to bringing his 1950 Chevrolet truck, a restoration that he completed just last year.

“I bought it in 2008 and spent four years fixing it up, so last year would have been the first year I brought it down,” said Kucker.

The Chevy is just the most recent of several restorations Kucker has undertaken.

“I found it in a barn up in Wabasso,” he detailed. “I just like that pickup. They made this particular body style of pickup from ’48 through ’54.”

Kucker has taken the truck to a few other shows in the area, but he especially likes the downtown event because it’s convenient.

“It’s more fun working on them than driving them,” he admitted. “That’s what happens — you get them done and they just sit.”

Another classic 1950s vehicle that will be on display Tuesday is LeRoy Merkel’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird.

“I’ve had it about eight years,” he said about the car that he found in California and drove back to Minnesota. “It’s in the condition it was in when I bought it.”

For Merkel, the Thunderbird was his dream car. It is red with a black top.

“I had to get on my hands and knees and beg to get it,” he joked.

In addition to the cars and the music, there will also be some classic eats. The Rock-Nobles Cattlemen will grill up burgers, and the Lions Club will sell popcorn.

“The Cattlemen were there last year for the first time, and that was a huge hit,” Walljasper-Tate said. “There was a long line, and this year they’re even more prepared. The food is a big draw.”

The Tuesday Downtown Farmers Market, usually in the parking lot at the end of street, will be moved onto 10th Street. A new addition for this year is a big inflatable character.

“King Turkey Day is bringing its huge turkey down,” Walljasper-Tate noted. “Parents will be able to take pictures of their kids with it if they want.”

Event organizers hope the cruise-in event will evoke some nostalgia for participants and draw more shoppers to the farmers market and downtown businesses.

“It’s just a fun night to get out and see the fun cars,” Walljasper-Tate said. “There will also be a lot of back-to-school sales and specials. It’s one more fun thing before the school year gets going.”

For more information, contact the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, 372-2919.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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