Car enthusiasts, mark your calendar. On May 20, the first Bassett Highway 57 Cruise-in of the 2017 season will be held.
From 4 to 8 p.m. that day, hundreds of antique and vintage vehicles are expected to fill the Bassett Furniture Industries parking lot to launch season two of the cruise-ins.
The Bassett Highway 57 Cruise-in Committee announced its schedule for the season on Wednesday, May 3 in the town’s former train depot.
Dates of future cruise-ins are June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16 and Oct. 21. Each will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. in Bassett’s parking lot with free admission and free popcorn, a food court and 50-50 drawing. All makes and models of cars are welcome.
If the second cruise-in season mirrors the first, vehicles will come from as far as Burlington, N.C., and Beckley, W.Va. More than 1,200 vehicles were registered for the cruise-ins last year, culminating in the October event which featured 323 vehicles, according to Allen Alderman, chairman of the Bassett Highway 57 Cruise-in Committee.
“We are ecstatic” with the first season, Alderman told about 50 people who attended the announcement. “We intend to make this year even better and we look forward to seeing you here.”
Vintage and antique vehicles are a hobby — sometimes an expensive one — for many people, according to Cliff Stone, a member of the cruise-in committee. Stone has two such cars — a 1966 Ford Mustang and a 1966 Ford pickup.
Nostalgia is part of the attraction to the vehicles, he said. They reflect “where we were at one time,” and often harken people back to the time when “if you were able to have a car, it was a lifeline. If you didn’t have one, you were out of luck,” Stone said.
Tim Stone, sponsor representative for the cruise-ins, said the vehicles also often represent cars people wanted when they were younger but couldn’t afford. Now, in their 50s and 60s, they have the money to buy and repair or restore the vehicles, he said.
“Americans always have been fascinated with automobiles,” he added.
Tim Stone thanked Bassett Funeral Service, the title sponsor for the cruise-ins, and other area merchants who have contributed to them. Others have provided door prizes, including $25 gift certificates given out at each cruise-in, Cliff Stone said.
The Highway 57 Cruise-in is an event of the Greater Bassett Area Community (GBAC). Some of its other efforts have included helping install street lights in the community; beautification project; organizing entertainment; pancake breakfasts; and a Christmas parade, tree lighting and market, according to Matt Davis of GBAC.
One of its main activities is the Community Market, which will start its eighth year on May 18 at the train depot. It features produce, crafts, baked goods and more, he said, adding that there is no setup fee for the markets.
Bassett Cruise-in: Members of the Bassett Highway 57 Cruise-In Committee stand with one of the vintage cars on display at the Bassett train depot for the committee’s announcement of its schedule of cruise-ins for 2017. Shown are (from left) Chris Gauldin, Amber Scott, Allen Alderman, Sam Adams, Kathy Hodges, Daris Manns, Cliff Stone, Tim Stone, David Alderman and Mark Alley.