Aldergrove is getting used to having the Cruise-In as a part of its yearly routine.
It’s now been three years since the Cruise-In has moved, after disputes with Langley City over the cost of policing for the annual charity car show.
Langley Township welcomed the change, and the chance to have the Cruise-In on its turf for the first time in the long-running event’s two-decade history.
“It’s been a totally different experience, this change,” said Riccardo Sestito, a longtime member of the Cruise-In’s volunteer board. “It’s been a very positive experience with the move.”
The number of pre-registrations for this year’s event are on track, and Sestito said the number of spectators are coming back.
“It’s like a whole new rebirth,” Sestito said. “I think Cruise-In is going to grow into the community,” he said.
Sestito compared the Cruise-In’s position in Aldergrove to what it was like in Langley City when the event began there in the late 1990s. The first Cruise-In took place before the new Langley City civic complex and library, before Douglas Park was redeveloped, and before the Cascades Casino had arrived.
He said the Township has gone out of its way to clean up and beautify the core area of downtown Aldergrove and welcome the event. Since the first Aldergrove Cruise-In, the community’s downtown has seen its own major change as the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre has opened its doors.
“It’s great working with the Township,” Cruise-In president Wayne Patterson agreed.
Even in its first year, local merchants were pleased about having the Cruise-In arrive, and some were surprised at the number of new people coming into shops and restaurants on the day of the show.
This year, more of them are asking for Cruise-In posters, Patterson noted.
Now he just needs to get the forces of nature on side for this year’s car show.
Patterson is hoping this year will be the first the weather will fully cooperate, and give the neighbourhood on the eastern edge of Langley the full Cruise-In experience.
The first year of the move seemed determined to drown out the car show – heavy rain hit early in the morning and continued for much of the day, but the streets were still filled by thousands of car lovers under umbrellas and raincoats.
In 2018, there was rain overnight and into the early morning, but by the time the cars arrived the sun was coming out.
Nonetheless, a completely dry weekend is necessary to get every local car buff out, said Patterson.
People with a $100,000 rare vehicle will get up at 5 a.m. and simply go back to bed if there’s so much as a drop of moisture outside.
“‘I don’t want to bring my exotic car out because the roads are wet,’” is the attitude, Patterson said.
He’s been keeping an eye on the long-range weather forecast as the weekend finally approaches.
If the weather does turn out to be warm and dry, Patterson expects to see some sellout crowds descend on Aldergrove for the first time since the Cruise-In moved. The space on Fraser Highway has enough room for up to 1,300 cars, about 400 more than they’ve had in the last few years.