August 1: Cruise Nite to feature Johnny &
The Love Handles, Drag Strip car display

July 30, 2014
Santa Paula News

Friday’s Cruise Nite will surely be hopping when Johnny & The Love Handles takes to the outdoor plaza, girl cheer groups preview all their spirited moves and a special array of race cars fills downtown Santa Paula.

The August 1 Cruise Nite will be held on East Main Street between 7th and 10th streets; so popular is the monthly display that more pre-1975 cars also spill onto various adjacent side streets.

Cruise Nite - held each year the First Friday of the Month, April through October - offers a free night out on the town with great music, unique shopping and plenty of fine dining with many restaurants offering Cruise Nite specials. Each month a new Cruise Nite T-shirt featuring a regularly displayed car and designed by Wendell Dowling is offered for sale.

Dave Anderson, who co-organizes the Chamber of Commerce and Santa Paula Police Officers Association sponsored event with Henry Aguilar, said Friday will be special Racecars Night.

Anderson said, “Henry has 17 confirmed cars to show up for a special display, most of them drag strip cars,” which Aguilar has also been known to race.

Anderson said, “Cruise Nite cars are still supposed to be pre-1975, but sometimes we make an exception for a special race car... “ 

Members of Santa Paula’s youth cheer squads, he added, “Will do a couple of routines when the band takes a break around 7 p.m. or so.”

Johnny & The Love Handles - led by John Procter - is a Cruise Nite favorite, “One of our best bands,”  said Anderson.

This year Cruise Nite, now in its 16th season, was cancelled July 4th to avoid a conflict with Fillmore’s Independence Day Car Show.

But even with the interruption in July it’s been a great Cruise Nite year: “They’ve all been packed, we’ve had good weather and a good turnout... we see more and more new people every Cruise Nite, see one or two cars we haven’t seen before new ones that are showing up,” to get a parking space in the middle of the action.

Anderson said cars have been displayed from the Los Angeles area and the San Fernando Valley. 

“We had some people come up one time from Orange County that have friends here in Santa Paula, heard about Cruise Nite and brought a car up. We’ve had cars from Bakersfield and Santa Barbara,” among other locations.

Anderson said the allure of Cruise Nite is easy to recognize: “It’s everything, the people, the music, the weather, the Downtown architecture, the cars,” that creates such a popular draw that “People are always telling us they see people they haven’t seen in years and years.”

Cruise Nite starts at about 5 p.m. and ends at dusk; seeing how popular the car show is prompted the Ventura County Agriculture Museum to start a popular series of concerts at its home in the former Mill at 926 Railroad Ave., just one block away from the Downtown.

On Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Coda will entertain at the museum; admission is $10 for adults, $2 for kids with an adult, and $5 for Museum members.   

Chairs and tables are provided in the air-conditioned museum where concert seating is first come, first seated. In the Sauce, Texas Style BBQ will be serving from their Famous Foof Truck

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