This past weekend I was fortunately able to attend a fantastic car show titled “Cruisin’ on a Hot Summer Night” which took place in Milton Ontario. One thing was for sure after reading the title no one could accuse them of false advertising as it was a scorcher that day with temperatures reaching a into the high 30’s (Celsius) with the humidly. The organizers of the Classic Car and Motorcycle show that took place in Downtown Milton on July 15th must have read the long term weather forecast before they named the event as they hit the nail right on the head. For those who are not native to Southern Ontario you may not be aware that the region is currently in the grips of its first summer heat wave for 2011. Thank fully there were plenty of cool refreshments available to the attendees’ from both local restaurants and street vendors.
If you are a car aficionado like me you have most likely attended a cruise night or two before. I know select Canadian Tire stores hosts them in their store parking lots Sunday night during the summer, There are also other smaller localized events scattered throughout the country. It really is an easy recipe to follow, all you need is a handful of vintage and classic cars, 70’s Muscle cars can easily be added to the mix if you have some lying around, and finish with a few vintage motorcycles. You can charge a small entrance fee to gain access to the parking lot or field and there should be a hotdog or popcorn cart downwind to help feed the people who stop by to look at the vehicles on display. I think we can all agree the event concept is nothing new, so what makes the Downtown Milton Cruise Night so special. How have the event organizers been able to stir up the traditional classic car show mix to make the Milton event truly unique?
The first special ingredient is the location and price; being able to close down a kilometer of Milton’s Main St provides the events attendees with a unique one of a kind back drop. All of the retail businesses located on Main St remain open and the vibe from store owners is that of an upscale sidewalk sale. In addition to the retail shops staying open there are easily close to 2 dozen local restaurants located in Milton’s Downtown core, all of which were offering their services to the attendees of the event. A large majority of these fine restaurants have temporary patios set up so that you can enjoy the car shows ambiance as you chow down on your 5 star meal or drink your 5 star wobbly pop. When combining this ambiance with the fact that there ample affordable/free parking within a 5 minute walk of Milton’s Downtown corridor as well as no entry fees to attend the show. After Spending over 100 dollars at the Honda Toronto Indy this was a real breath of free fresh air.
The outdoor patio’s also lead into another great ingredient of the Milton Cruisin’ on a Hot Summer Night Car Show; the live band rocking out on stage. So your thinking, “sure live bands are great for when you’re in ear shot but I’m sure every patio wasn’t close enough to hear the band, were they? Well I have a two part answer for that question: you would be correct not every patio would be within ear shot of the band. However the event organizers factored this problem into their plan and they placed a huge audio system up and down Main Street so the music comes to you. Dancing however remained purely in front of the stage and both young and old were invited to participate as the band played a nice mix of Rock & Roll hits.
The final ingredient that makes this a class leading Cruise Night would have to be the depth of field, of both the cars and bikes that were there on display. I must admit I am a huge car buff and I was even introduced to some Vintage cars that I had never laid my eyes upon before. If my math is correct there was a range of over 50 years between the oldest and the newest cars at the show. In attendance at the show this year were Hot Rods, Muscle cars, Vintage cars (circa 1930’s), Classic cars (circa 1960), and European Imports of all shapes and sizes. Most of the cars were in very good to mint condition with the odd car/bike in need of a little tender love and care.
A final element of Milton’s Cruise Night recipe was a small unexpected one but it was that made the final product so enjoyable, was that the majority of the car’s owners could be found hanging around their beautify time capsules on wheels. Each owner that I spoke with was very willing to tell me about the history of the car. Most had funny anecdotal stories about the cars restore process or about their trips down to the southern parts of the United States where some of the cars were purchased and a lot of car parts were collected. It was pleasing to hear the passion in the owners’ voices as they spoke about their classic rides, and was truly the icing on the car show cake.
I was in attended for the first couple hours of the event so I wasn’t around to see what the car took home the prestigious best in show award. This however hasn’t stopped me from offering my option. After walking up and down Milton’s Main Street for a good hour and a half Car Rolodex would like to name the 1935 Buick Cabriolet, the 2011 Cruisin’ on a Hot Summer Night” Best in Show Award. It was a very hard decision as there were many worth recipients this year but something about this perfectly restored 1935 Vintage Car that caught our attention.
Unfortunately the Downtown Milton Classic Car and Motorcycle show is a once a year event so the 2011 edition has sadly passed you by. I would suggest that you check the “Inside Halton event Calendar” to see when next year’s event will be held as this is one classic Car and Motorcycle show that should not be missed. This time next year I would strongly recommend bring your whole family, young and old as well as an appetite to enjoy the local food, drinks and family friendly ambiance. The show started at 6pm this year and the band played their last set well after the sun had set, making it a true evening activity.
If you are interested in seeing the Cars that Car Rolodex has picked as the winner and runners up in their respected categories scroll down. If you were at the show and think another car should have placed higher let us know in the comments below.
Hot Rod Group
Muscle Car Group
Classic Car Group
Vintage Car Group
European Import Group