After a lousy three days, this morning awoke with a perfectly deep blue sky speckled with cute, fluffy white clouds and the sound of chunky V-8’s rumbling down Back Beach Road on their way to register for this weekends Emerald Coast Cruizin Classic Car Show. Held in Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, this is the fifth year that Emerald Coast Cruizin has come to our beach, and myself as well has thousands from all over the Southeast United States are glad to have perfect weather on the forecast for the rest of the weekend.
“I couldn’t hardly get started before yesterday (Wednesday) because of the storm,” Robert ‘Rakes’ Parrish said, “I pretty much did everything you see here yesterday and this morning.” With Tropical Depression Ida blowing through here Tuesday, the residual left us with waterlogged fields and a rainy windy mess yesterday. But today, you wouldn’t know the wiser; the grass is green, the spirits high and the cars are shiny at Frank Brown Park’s festive grounds, the same location the Panama City Beach Seafood Wine and Music Festival rocked just a few short weeks ago.
Unlike the Seafood festival weekend, this weekend is expected to be cool. After a couple rainy days, the sky almost seems bluer than we’ve seen in a while.
Talking with Phillip Noles, “You never really know until mid Saturday how many cars will be here, but all projections are leaning towards 4,000 cars.” He went on to say that he’s seen registrants from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and beyond.
I spoke with a local couple that comes every year. They had a beautiful classic that was actually for sale. “We’re looking at getting into something different,” she said, “oh yea, another hot rod,” when I asked what she was thinking. “It’s his fault,” pointing to their friend next to them, sporting a heavily modified classic pick-up with a sweet vintage Cadillac hood ornament.
Talking with Noles, he was telling me a great, touching story; the kind of story that just makes you feel good. An elderly home in town had asked “Rakes” to bring a few cars out to give some of the residents something to be excited about. “Rakes” went above and beyond showing up with 50 cars. “How much’ll it cost,” said the Home Director. “Nothing,” Rakes said, “that’s part of the deal, just tryin to help.” The idea was to let those folks see some of the cars that were hot during their heyday.
Walking around, listening to the 40’s and 50’s music being pumped through the clear, cool air made me want to roll up my jean bottoms, put on my converse, slick back my hair and start swing dancing. I know my generation is a far cry from that era, but I have a kindred spirit to those times. Something that I’m reminded of when I see Rockwell art.
If you didn’t win some of the free tickets we gave away, you should go to the show anyway. You won’t regret it. There will be thousands of beautiful cars to look at, tons of super friendly people to talk to, gobbs of tasty food to eat and plenty of great music to listen to. Tickets are being sold at the gate for $8 for one day general admission and $20 for a three day pass. Kids 12 and under are free.