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Get Your Motor Runnin’ - Cruisin’ Grand is Back!

Grand Avenue is where it’s at on Friday Nights this summer!

After a year-long hiatus, one of Escondido’s most famous and fun summer activities is back and revving to go. Cruisin’ Grand rolled into town on Friday, June 18, and will be parked on Grand Avenue every Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. through September 24. 

The City of Escondido, which typically hosts several events and celebrations, went an entire year without any and the City and its community are thrilled to bring back this popular summer tradition. 

“Cruisin' Grand is really one of the cornerstones of summertime here in Escondido,” said Teresa Collins, Deputy Director of Communications. “It really is a cherished event and it is great to welcome it back.” Collins said families were out in full force opening week and the event has maintained a steady flow of people every Friday night, who come to celebrate the American tradition of cars and cruising - from American-made classics to customs, vintage, muscle, and hot rods.

This summer’s weekly event is slightly different than in years past. Because many bars and restaurants still have outdoor dining that has spilled onto the street with k-rails as barriers, the traditional cruising element has been eliminated from the event for now. Instead, Grand Avenue has been closed off to traffic and the classic and specialty cars are parked along the street next to outdoor diners, allowing visitors the ability to walk freely on the street to admire the scenery.

Grand Avenue is closed for cruisin’ but open for perusing. 

“That has been a great solution and it worked out really well,” added Collins. “Keeping the street side dining and retail is really important as our local businesses are moving into the recovery phase.”

Five City blocks from Escondido Boulevard to Ivy Street are blocked off  for the classic cars to park and show off their unique features. Additionally, the side streets between Second Avenue and Valley Parkway are closed as these streets are where most car clubs traditionally congregate throughout the summer. 

Cruisin’ Grand has been named, “The number one car cruise in the nation,” by Curbside TV and is considered the largest car show in the region. 

Cruisin’ Grand creator and organizer Steve Waldron makes sure it’s a family-friendly event every week. He coordinates each week’s car theme and has both live music and a DJ to celebrate the cars and their era. Awards are given out by car clubs and sponsors to car owners every week as well. Kettle corn and games accompany the event, giving kids even more to do throughout the evening.

The event is also filled with surprises every week. The first week, Waldron managed to get the Grease Lightning car from the movie Grease to show up for the event. Spectators were able to take photos next to the famous car that had been signed by the movie’s lead actress Olivia Newton-John. 

Other surprises from the past include cars from the Pixar movie Cars, Nitro Night (complete with the flame-belching nitromethane racers), model cars from various eras, and Hero Night (a salute to first responders, which runs the Friday closest to September 11). 

Hero Night with responder vehicles from several decades.

“Steve puts a call out to all first responder vehicles both old and new,” said Collins, adding that everything from vintage fire trucks to SWAT cars, and old police cruisers show up, making this one of the event's most popular nights. “Everyone loves it, especially the kids.” 

This year’s Hero Night will be Friday, September 10.

Many Escondido businesses also participate in the event with specials that run on Friday nights during Cruisin' Grand. The Escondido-based food app FabnGrab has many Cruisin’ Grand specials dedicated to this summer’s celebration, including a Two Tamale Combo at Tamales Jovita, Happy Hour Pizza at Bulgogi Fries, a Lunch Pizza at Grand Pizzeria, The Barrel Burger or  Happy Hour Craft Beer at Barrel Republic.

Cruisin’ Grand is maintained mostly through volunteers and sponsorship. Sponsors include O'Reilly Auto Parts, Gosch Ford Escondido, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, and Brian Habib, Realtor

The calendar of events throughout the summer include:

July 9 - Classic T-Birds And Vintage Corvettes Night
        Sponsored by Rock-n-Jenny's
July 16 - German and British Car Night
         Sponsored by Esco Gelato
July 23 - The Drifters Car Club
         Sponsored by Escondido Coin & loan
July 30 - Grand De Elegance Packard and Pierce Arrow Night
        Sponsored by Tool Shed
August 6 - Country Gents And Little Guys Night
        Sponsored by Free Builders Supply
August 13 - Model T's, A's and Early Fords
        Sponsored by Tom and Patsy Hamlin
August 20 - Heartbeat Classics Night
        Sponsored by The Enlow Family
August 27 - Axle Draggers Night
        Sponsored by C&G Ford
September 3 - C-10 Trucks Night
        Sponsored by HotRod & Custom Stuff
September 10 - Fire Truck Night - Hero's Night
        Sponsored by Escondido Fire Association
September 17 - The Shafter's Night

September 24 - Vintage Racecar Night - NITRO NIGHT
        Sponsored by Correct Carpet

More information on Cruisin’ Grand is available on the Website and Facebook.