Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

July 3, 2014

OUR VIEW: Resurrecting a Goshen pastime

Six months ago, when a brutal polar vortex was bearing down on us, the balm of summer never seemed so far away. Well, summer is here and one of the staples of summer in Goshen is about to be on full display.

On Friday, the Fourth of July, Goshen’s First Fridays festival will again host what has emerged as its flagship event — the Sixth Annual Cruisin’ Reunion. The event will take place on Main Street as hundreds of classic cars will parade down the city’s main drag. The brainchild of Don Riegsecker six years ago, the First Fridays’ staff and city officials have managed to embrace the spirit of the event, which is rooted in the former local pastime of cruising.

 

GOSHEN USED TO BE famous for its downtown cruising on Friday and Saturday nights. Prior to the spring of 1986, thousands of teenagers from throughout the region would flock to Main Street in their muscle cars to socialize. (See this story from 1982 in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1982/09/08/garden/in-goshen-cruising-season-has-begun.html) The behavior of those teenagers, however, wasn’t always upstanding and the city leaders decided it was time for the pastime to end and placed restrictions on Main Street during the peak cruising hours. Nearly 30 years later, cruising is essentially a legend of yesteryear.

Except, of course, for on the First Friday of each July. On that day there is a special energy downtown during the Cruisin’ Reunion that is unmistakable. It’s nostalgic. It’s alive. It feels like small-town America with the big-time attitude. It’s the place to be, for sure, and the event itself is really the people (and their vehicles) themselves.

It really is a classy night. Goshen police are diligent about keeping the streets safe during the event. Anybody driving in an unsafe manner (remember, there is an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people downtown during the event), can expect to have a member of the GPD issue them a citation.

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