MT. VERNON, Ill. (March 31, 2014) – It may be hard to find a parking spot at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace on the first Friday of every month now through October as the Kingsmen Auto Club of Mt. Vernon plans to fill every space with old and unique automobiles from across Southern Illinois.
The first Cruise Night is scheduled for April 4 with the theme “MoPar and Truck Month.” All Cruise Nights will last from 6 – 9 p.m. There will be prizes, 50/50 drawings, live music by Hot Rod Nights, and plaques for participating automobiles.
President of the Kingsmen Jim Hutchison said the move will hopefully provide more room for those wanting to participate.
“We have about 51 members who bring their cars, and we also don’t charge anything for the public to come in. We’re not a car show,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison explained the difference between the Cruise Nights and traditional car shows, listing free admission and a family-friendly atmosphere as two key factors.
“There’s no entry fee, and we don’t have judges and trophies to award,” he said. “You just come and park wherever you want, and it doesn’t cost you a dime. We do have door prizes and plaques that Rend Lake is sponsoring, but you can come and go anytime you want. I think it’s nice, because times are hard and it’s difficult to find something to bring your whole family to. I think that’s really important around here right now.”
The club was originally founded in 1960, but disbanded around 1974. Hutchison, who served as the club’s president in 1968 as well as now, said the members have focused on older automobiles dating from the 1930s through the 1960s since starting back up in 2007. He added the club’s slogan, “once a Kingsmen, always a Kingsmen,” is ringing true as more people are getting involved.
“We are basically a rod and custom club that doesn’t cater to new cars, but we definitely don’t turn them away from the Cruise Nights,” said Hutchison. “Ninety percent of the guys in the club had old cars, and some have more than one. Some cost $65,000 and some cost $3,000. Some have drag racers who still participate in the drag races down in Benton. We just like to get together and have fun with it. We’re looking forward to having the good bunch of people at Rend Lake in with us this year too.”
The following Cruise Nights are: May 2, featuring Camaros and Mustangs; June 6, featuring Fords and Convertibles; July 11, featuring Tri-5 Chevys and Rat Rods; August 1, featuring Street Rods and Race Cars; September 5, featuring GM and Orphan Cars; and October 3, featuring Chevrolets (1958 and newer) and Corvettes.
To learn more about the Cruise Nights, call 618-244-7711 or 618-242-6279.