Contributed photo from last year's Broad Street Cruise-In.
For an entire generation of Kingsport residents, weekends meant one thing: cruising in downtown.
It didn’t matter if people had hot rods or their parents sedan, everybody liked to cruise. It could sometimes take hours to get from one end of downtown to the other, but that was okay.
When Stone Drive was built and Kingsport started to expand out, cruising became a thing of the past.
Well, it was a thing of the past until 1999, when the Downtown Kingsport Association, the Fraternal order of Police Officers and other groups came together to create the Broad Street Cruise-In and Car show.
The show has since become an annual event in Downtown Kingsport. This year’s show will take place on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m along Broad and Main Streets.
“Cruising used to be big in downtown Kingsport during the 50s, 60s and 70s,” said Executive Director of the Downtown Kingsport Association, Sherri Mosley. “Stores in downtown would stay open late. We just wanted to bring that back to downtown.”
There will be activities for every member of the family. Live musical acts, food vendors, inflatables and face painters for the kids and of course the cars.
Cars will be the main attraction for the entire day and there will be quite a variety on display.
“It’s all the cars we wanted but couldn’t afford when we were younger,” said show committee member, Johnny McClellan. “There will be muscle cars, late model mustangs, new Dodge chargers and mid-50s hot rods. It’s a pretty good assortment.”
The number of cars that attend the show have grown over the years. During the show’s first year, less than 100 cars showed up, McClellan said. This year over 300 cars are expected to take part in the cruise-in.
Select cars could win prizes as well. There will be 25 choice awards handed out. The cars are not judged for the awards but rather given by select people to the cars they like best. Good bags and dash plaques will be given to the first 300 cars and a grand prize which consists of a Chevrolet engine and a Ford AOD transmission will also be given out.
Not only does the car show help to bring back memories, it also helps downtown businesses.
While Mosley admitted that not every business in downtown benefits from the show, she said a majority of businesses benefit from having the extra foot traffic.
The show will also offer a chance for businesses in downtown to show off the progress that has been made since a devastating flood struck in July. A sidewalk sale will also be set-up along Market Street to benefit those businesses who were affected by flooding.
Not only will the car show bring cool cars and extra foot traffic to downtown, it will also help charity.
All proceeds made by the car show will go to ongoing programs for the Fraternal Order of Police, Mosley said. Some of those programs include children’s Special Olympics, child advocacy center and others. Mosley said thousands have been raised for charity over the years.
Fun Fest barrels will also be set-up to collect school supplies for needy children in the area.
McClellan hopes to see people come out for the show and to bring back memories.
“This is just a way of reliving memories for people who want to relive their youth,” he said.