Cutsforth’s Holds ‘Mini Cruise-In,’ Preps for Main Event

Last Friday, a trip to Cutsforth’s Market might just have felt a bit like a trip back in time. And it wasn’t just because of the 50 or so classic cars lined up for display outnumbered the more recent and more humble models.

What store owner Frank Cutsforth later described as a “mini Cruise-In” evoked the early days of the Cutsforth’s Cruise-In — before it outgrew the store’s parking lot and was relocated to Wait Park.

“It was just kind of a put-together deal, but we had guys hanging out till 7, 7:30,” Cutsforth said. “They had a good time. People like cars, they like to drive them and they just like to hang out.”

The Cutsforth family and volunteers, of course, are in the last few weeks of planning for a highly modified version of this year’s Cruise-In, which will be held drive-thru-style from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

Participating cruisers will be spaced at same distances according to a predetermined route across the fairgrounds, while attendees will be invited to tour the displays in a contactless experience, accompanied by an FM radio show featuring a DJ-curated list of classic oldies, complementary of JB Productions.

The Cutsforths made the decision to reinstate the popular car show — with the new, coronavirus restrictions — in July, leaving precious little time to organize an event that they normally spend most of the year planning.

But, as Frank Cutsforth explained, they have had a lot of help and support from local community members, who were thrilled to see one of Canby’s most beloved traditions penciled back onto an events calendar that had otherwise been wiped clean due to Covid-19.

“A lot of people were wanting to be able to do something this year,” Cutsforth told the Canby Now Podcast. You know, we’re being careful about how we do it, but I think it will be successful.”

There will be a $10 registration fee only for those who are displaying their cars, the proceeds of which will go toward local nonprofits (there is no fee to attend). New this year: sponsors and local partners like the Canby Fire District, Canby Police Department and Mayor Brian Hodson will be able to give special awards to their favorite cruisers.

Cutsforth said they are hoping to provide live music, though those details are still being worked out (strict restrictions remain in place as to the size of gatherings that might be allowed in one place, including an outdoor concert venue), and a drive-thru food court with participating food trucks will be available in the red lot outside the fairgrounds.

For the cruisers, it will be an experience unlike any Cruise-In over the past 25 years, and that’s one reason organizers are encouraging them to circulate throughout the community, patronize local businesses and bring the classic cars to the larger community who may be unable — or unwilling — to do the drive-thru experience (a sort of “Cruise-Out,” if you will).

“Masks, social distance is all part of the deal,” Cutsforth said of the guidelines that will be in place for organizers and volunteers, “but I think folks are getting used to that.”

He hopes the pandemic and the associated restrictions will not have a significant impact on participation, but he won’t know for sure until that Saturday: unlike last year’s event, which saw a record 710 cars and vehicles show up for the 25th anniversary extravaganza — this year, there will be no pre-registration.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of cars, but I just don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see.”

Hear more from Frank Cutsforth at the end of Episode 197 of the Canby Now Podcast, “Time to Get Sirius”:

Photo courtesy Dan Walker.

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