The first Cruise Nite of the 2009 season occurred last Friday along Main Street, Downtown Santa Paula. Pre-1975 cars stretched from 8th Street to Main Street with hundreds of onlookers wandering the street. (Photo by Brian D. Wilson)

First Friday of month Cruise Nite kicks off 2009 season

April 08, 2009
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThere were lots of people taking pictures of Cruise Nite cars and characters when the 11th season revved up Friday night, amateur and professional shutter bugs alike delighted by the coolest event in Ventura County. Many of the pre-1975 cars looked like they had settled comfortably into perhaps that familiar display parking spot, shiny grills resembling smiles of appreciation at the smiles flashed their way.The line of vintage and classic cars stretched for blocks in the historic downtown Main Street, and the large crowd waited for tables at the area restaurants. Some cars stopped people in their tracks: the custom hood of John’s Joy, a Ford panel truck painted in a trio of colors, seemed to be sticking its nose into everybody’s business.Sweet rides in a rainbow of colors were the perfect backdrop for the sweet sounds of The Angela Skeels Band, and the nearby rare Shelby 427 S/C. “I’m glad to see Cruise Nite back,” said David Curran, a Santa Paula Police Reserve who was there with SPPD Explorers who were directing traffic.John Procter was handing out flyers noting that El Pescador Restaurant is donating part of their proceeds to the upcoming American Cancer Society Santa Paula Relay for Life. “They’re always very generous,” he noted.Pastor Ron Dyvbig knew a black beauty was a vintage Cadillac from the late 1930s: “Look at the hood ornament,” he noted. A fan, Dyvbig said he tries to never miss an April to October Cruise Nite.“I really like old cars... my first car was a 1931 Ford coupe I bought for $50. Then my brother and I got a bunch more for $50” until they purchased a 1941 Ford convertible for $60, the cost of an unpaid storage fee.“My brother Richard was really the one into cars,” down to rebuilding engines on the old models. Now, noted Dyvbig, his brother, a farmer and professional Elvis impressionist, “has plenty of expensive cars.”A 1954 Chevrolet convertible sporting a For Sale sign was painted in a lime green with yellow to orange flames covering the hood and along the sides, but not close enough to scorch the white wall tires.
“We usually always come to Cruise Nite,” said Frances Gonzales, who with her husband Danny was also working on behalf of Relay for Life.Margaret Turner’s Cruise Nite quilt was also stopping people in their tracks. “I made it from old Cruise Nite T-shirts” given to her by daughter Brenda Padgett, and orders for the quilts were already rolling in.“We love Cruise Nite - it’s such a great thing, a wonderful thing for the town,” said Mayor Ralph Fernandez, there with his family.Garman’s Irish Pub was letting people in for a sneak preview of the eatery, where the slate tops from the building’s former pool tables are being used as the bar counter.Tisa’s Salon & Spa was also busy: “People are peeking in,” said owner Tisa Grant. “We’re handing out business cards and we have ARC outside handing out popcorn” in exchange for donations.“I’m real happy with the turnout for the first time” of the season, said Dave Anderson, who coordinates the Santa Paula Police Officers Association/Chamber of Commerce event with Henry Aguilar.A nearby yellow 1951 Chevrolet doubled as a shrine to Felix the Cat who, besides an impressive cartoon career, also was the feline mascot for a Los Angeles based dealership. A plush Felix in the back seat sat in a Felix duffle bag, and the license plate was decorated with several metal Felixes, the perfect symbol for the beginning of the Cruise Nite season.

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