Davis Cruise-In brings community together

Davis Cruise-In brings community together

Photo Credits: TESSA KOGA / AGGIE

Car shows to come at Sundstrom Hill Winery

Davis Cruise-In, a car show, will come to Sundstrom Hill Winery at 2744 Del Rio Place, Suite 130, Davis on every third Saturday from April to September. Davis Cruise-In showcases cars, both old and new, and everyone is invited to come and bring their cars and share their stories. The car shows last two hours, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Bruce Risley, one of the founders of Davis Cruise-In, initiated the car shows in Davis because he had a new vision.

“A friend of mine, an architect in town — we were going to the Cruise-in, in Winters, and we saw how it was set up and that it was popular,” Risley said. “[Winters is a] small town similar to Davis, right in the downtown area. And we thought, ‘you know what […] we can go a lot better than this in Davis.’”

Risley noted that what sparked his inspiration to create a new car show in Davis was because he saw a gap, where people did not socialize at the Cruise-In in Winters.

“We came back and started kicking around ideas about what we didn’t like first,” Risley said. “We absolutely hated the blaring music, which seems to be a staple at every car show and Cruise-in. That’s fine if people like the oldies, which we do — we just didn’t want that to be the main thing. We noticed a crowd of people walking around if they were single people, [and] they had nobody to talk to. They did not interact very much with the car owners, and if they came in pairs or small groups of say a family, they would talk to each other, and they still didn’t talk to the car owner. It occurred to us that everybody wants to share the story of their car with somebody that’s interested.”

Elena Coker, the coordinator for Davis Cruise-In, wanted to continue the car shows’ legacy, to bring back the atmosphere where people can come and get together.

“You’re welcome to bring any car in any condition,” Coker said. “No one is going to be judgemental of you. Everyone is very welcoming — they appreciate what you have, it’s an all around good experience.”

Risley indicated the past success of the Davis Cruise-In, where his vision was to have people come out and get to know one another.

“The main idea was that when the drivers pulled in, what we noticed immediately was that people got out and started talking to one another — this was the whole point,” Risley said.  “Pretty soon there was a buzz like a beehive on a busy evening, and it was just wonderful. People talked about their cars and their experiences — their fun things from the past [and] their first car — and we feel like that’s the way it should be, and we spiced it up with some fun. The last show of the season, we felt should be a reward for the drivers with raffles for antiques and collectibles.”

Coker has been a regular at the car shows because she felt like the culture was welcoming.

“I just really like the culture; honestly, everyone’s really nice and so open and they want to show you their car,” Coker said. “Some people may even take you out for a spin, and it’s just so fun. Everyone was really welcoming, and I wanted to share the same experience I got when I first came. It’s been pretty successful — I think people feel love when they come there. There are no people who are mean or hateful towards anyone else, [and] it’s a nice event.”

Hope Fernandez, a first-year psychology major at UC Davis, suggested that events like Davis Cruise-In can do more outreach to students as well, as she has participated in car shows before when she was in high school.

“I think there should just be more advertising on social media because that really speaks to the students, or even on campus with flyers that can capture their attention,” Fernandez said.  “I have attended a car show in high school, but never in Davis. From my own experience, I think that the owners of the cars were just really friendly and interactive, which is weird because you would think they would be so protective of their cars.”

Still, the Davis Cruise-In seeks to improve on its outreach and expand its fan base.

“I was hoping to expand our car fan club and try and get more people to come and enjoy the shows,” Coker said. “Not many people knew about it, to begin with, and even some people I talk to now — it’s new to them. When I stepped in as coordinator, I ended up making the website and Facebook page while trying to get flyers out.”

Risley further elaborated on how Cruise-Ins were meant to be social gatherings, and he reminisced that people got to know one another through car shows.

“The main thing we wanted to get across was that the Cruise-In should be fun again,” Risley said. “When we came out of the 50s and 60s, we didn’t have a lot of money, and the idea was that on a Friday night or Saturday night, we would get together for a Cruise-In — it was a social get-together, and the cars were part of the equation. Everyone was proud of what they had, maybe it was Mom and Dad’s cars.”

Coker indicated that everyone is welcome to come and that they merely need to show up.

“If anyone wants to come, they just come,” Coker said. “They can check in with me once they get here. You tell people what your car is, and what your name is and you roam around and look at people’s cars. There’s some really nice old cars and new cars. It’s just really awesome — you can bring any car.”

Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org