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Autumn Cruise returning Saturday for 20th year

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Scary skulls
Scary skulls
This blue 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra, owned by owned by Dave and Janet Vanderpool of Shelby, was one of many classic cars on display during the 2019 Autumn Cruise, held in downtown Upper Sandusky.
Daily Chief-Union/Brian Hemminger

By CALLAN PUGH

City editor

Saturday after a one-year delay, the Wyandot Classics and Cruisers will hold its 20th Annual Autumn Cruise event in downtown Upper Sandusky.

In 2020, the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we were bummed because we couldn’t have it with COVID,” Dave Yeater, with Wyandot Classics and Cruisers said. “We’re making it a little special this year.”

One change this year will be the acceptance of slightly newer vehicles. Previously vehicles had to be 25 years old or older, now vehicles can be 20 years or older, which opens up the show to more people and to vehicles that are more affordable. Yeater said the average club age is 65-75 years old, though some younger members have joined. He said it’s hoped that the club can start getting younger members who will be the future of the club.

Yeater said with more cars being accepted and after a year off, it’s possible that the show will have even more cars this year. Already the pre-registration numbers are higher this year with over 330 turned in so far, which typically more than doubles on the day of the show. He said weather also will play a role in how many show up, though after some rainy weather in the morning it’s expected to be clear and nice weather. In years past, the show has brought in around 700 cars and trucks, Yeater said.

Due to expectations of more vehicles being entered, Yeater said the roads where the vehicles will be able to park and cruise has been extended slightly. Sandusky Avenue will be blocked off from the railroad down past the library and side streets from Eighth Street to Fifth Street also will be blocked off.

The streets will be shut down at 10 a.m. Saturday, though Yeater said vehicles are able to come sooner so long as they are correctly parked in parking spots. Some people come as early as the night before, he said, to ensure they get the best spots. After 10 a.m. vehicles will be able to turn around the park for the show and to start cruising if they desire. Registration opens at noon and closes around 3 p.m. Awards will be at 8 p.m.

Special this year will be the awards, which Yeater explained are crystal. Awards will be given for 65 sponsor’s choice awards, which are chosen by representatives of each of the sponsor organizations and businesses. Special awards are being made by Randy Shepherd for the Mayor’s, Sheriff’s, Police Chief’s and Fire Chief’s awards, as well as for awards honoring the memories of past Classic’s and Cruisers members Vonice Brinson and Dick Gibson. Awards also will be given for the best in show car and the best in show truck.

The door prizes, which are available only to those who enter, and raffle items which are open to the public also have been stepped up a notch this year in honor of the anniversary, Yeater said, with some donated basket items and other items that the club has purchased such as a 55-inch TV, a grill and a bike.

A 50/50 raffle also will be held again this year and in past years has brought in enough for a $1,400-$1,500 payout to the winner. Additional fundraising also will be done through the raffle of two guns, with ticket sales continuing until the drawing Saturday.

No one will go hungry this year either. The first event of the day will kick off with a breakfast by donation at the Upper Sandusky Fire Department. Yeater said this is the first year the department will hold a breakfast and said if it goes well this year it could become a yearly event. The breakfast will serve as a fundraiser for the department. Food also will be served later in the morning and into the afternoon at John Stewart United Methodist Church and the “food court” with area food vendors also will be open again this year in the parking lot of Premier Bank. The Upper Sandusky Park Department also sets up picnic tables in the area for people to utilize while enjoying a meal. Yeater also noted that for many of the downtown businesses and restaurants the autumn cruise is one of the biggest days of the year.

The Upper Sandusky Lion’s Club also will have a Hot Wheels track for the children to enjoy in the parking lot beside the courthouse, Yeater said.

The event each year functions as a fundraiser that helps local organizations. From 2001 until 2019, the event raised nearly $370,000, which was primarily donated to Hospice of Wyandot County, except for one year when the proceeds of just over $18,000 were donated to Wyandot County Emergency Medical Services. This year the proceeds will be split between Hospice, Open Door Resource Center and Hannah’s House. He said the club may start rotating which organizations are benefited by the proceeds each year in future years as well.

Yeater said the club doesn’t really have set goals for fundraising each year and instead focuses more on having a nice show for the community. He noted that the city of Upper Sandusky from the mayor down and the community in general has always been excellent about supporting the show. Area businesses, in addition to sponsoring prizes, also have helped with donated items for goodie bags for those who pre-registered.

Because it is an outside event, Yeater said Wyandot Classics and Cruisers is offering hand sanitizer and optional face masks during registration, but nothing will be required.

 


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