Santa Paula’s Cruise Nite just keeps picking up speed

May 18, 2007
Santa Paula News

Cruise Nite just keeps picking up speed, if May’s First Friday of the Month event was any indication.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesCruise Nite just keeps picking up speed, if May’s First Friday of the Month event was any indication. Cruisers - both those car lovers on foot and those vehicles parked at the curb - run the gamut, but an unusual standout at the May event was a 1972 Ford 350 Sport Custom truck outfitted with a corral.“I’ve had this thing for about six years,” said Felix Perez of Santa Paula, who used photographs to document his restoration effort, which was finished last year. When asked what he primarily uses the vehicle for, Perez had a ready answer: “For the car show!”With spiffy aluminum rims and 16-inch wheels the Ford gets plenty of attention, especially with the corral Perez had custom made for the bed area. “Sometimes I bring out my 1973 Nova” for Cruise Nite showing off, but “people like this better,” said Perez.Cruise Nite brings hundreds of vehicles that are tucked into every parking space on East Main Street between 8th and 10th streets, and several side streets as well.
The Limoneira Co. 1913 fire engine was getting plenty of attention, including from a Santa Paula Fire Department engine company. SPFD Capt. Gil Segovia said that the department would take advantage of the anticipated June Cruise Nite crowd to sell tri-tip sandwiches as a fundraiser, to be held at Station 81 on South 10th Street.Santa Paulan Sally Caulfield said that she and her husband Gene visit Cruise Nite every month. “I had a 1965 GTO... if I’d only kept it!” said Gene. Sally agreed: “It was yellow, we called it the Yellow Bird.”“I’m impressed,” said Arthur Kroon of Santa Paula, who noted that he has visited several car shows including those in Santa Barbara County, and Santa Paula’s Cruise Nite is a winner. “Eighty to ninety percent of the cars are in really, really good condition and there are some real rare models.”Co-sponsored by the Santa Paula Police Officers Association and the Chamber of Commerce, Cruise Nite offers live entertainment, special merchant hours and Cruise Nite specials, as well as chance to purchase a Cruise Nite T-shirt, each month a different model rendered by Santa Paula artist Wendell Dowling. Cruise Nite - which draws participants and visitors from throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties - is held the First Friday of each month through October.

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