By BRIANA BARKER
Remember the days when it was cool to cruise to the nearest carhop for a burger and a shake? When it was the thing to do to ride around town on a Saturday night?
That is what some Rocky Mount residents are trying to resurrect with a new Saturday night event, Just Cruisin’.
Just Cruisin’ will kick off this Saturday, Sept. 7 and be a recurring event in Rocky Mount on the first Saturday of each month (except during winter months). The event aims to bring people back into town on Saturday nights, according to co-organizer Ronald Campbell.
“We are hoping to get businesses to stay open later,” Campbell said.
Campbell, along with a committee of members, said driving revenue back into the community was one of the main goals.
“I was driving through downtown Rocky Mount a couple Saturdays ago in my Nova and stopped dead in the middle of the road in front of Holley Insurance, dropped my clutch, and there wasn’t a soul around to hear it,” Campbell said.
Jon Snead, co-organizer of Just Cruisin’ and Rocky Mount Town Council member, said his goal is “to bring back yesterday.”
“It’s just what we did back then,” Snead said, adding that cruising was a popular pastime until the 1990s before it seemed to die off.
While there is no dedicated route, there will be parking lots that businesses have granted permission to use, such as the Schewels Furniture parking lot at 1125 Franklin St. and Fisher Auto’s parking lot at 875 North Main St.
Organizers say they didn’t want to create a parade, and the parking lots are for people to gather and mingle but the spirit of the event is to cruise around town.
The idea of Just Cruisin’ has garnered a lot interest on social media. In less than two weeks, the Facebook page, “Crusin Rocky Mount Va,” has attracted more than 1,100 members, and organizers say 93 people committed to bring their vehicles in less than three hours of posting the event.
“I think people are going to be surprised just how far our reach has gotten,” Campbell said. “I had a message from someone who said our event was the same night as Pilot Mountain, North Carolina’s.”
The cruise is not about antique cars, in fact, all street-legal vehicles are welcome.
Co-organizer Kimberly Najduch said she is looking at possibly creating a pamphlet with local businesses that are supporting the effort and printing restaurant menus and specials for cruise nights. Organizers added they are hoping to inspire a carhop-type business to come to Rocky Mount as well.
Just Cruisin’ Rocky Mount will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and again on Oct. 5.
All traffic laws apply, and organizers said the event is designed to be a family-friendly event.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit “Crusin Rocky Mount Va” on Facebook.