As the latest edition of the Langley Good Times Cruise-In approaches, society president Riccardo Sestito is breathing a sigh of relief.
The last few months before the big car show, which takes over downtown Aldergrove on Saturday, Sept. 10, have been hectic, as organizers have jumped multiple hurdles.
“Out of past shows, this year was one of the toughest shows to put on,” Sestito said.
In 2020, with serious COVID-19 restrictions in place, there was no Cruise-In, the fate of almost all major public events that year.
When the Cruise-in returned in 2021, it was just about the only car show on the calendar in the Lower Mainland.
“Last year, obviously were the only show around,” Sestito said. “So that was a feat in itself.”
While in 2021, there were concerns about whether health restrictions would allow the event to go ahead, this year was in some ways the opposite.
There were now many, many car shows over the spring and summer, as people rushed back to public events in the wake of mass vaccination campaigns last year.
One of the problems organizers had was rounding up enough volunteers for the massive show, which is entirely volunteer-run and donates all its proceeds to local charities.
Sestito said that while some stalwart volunteers did return, it was harder to find others. In the last week before the Cruise-In was held, they were finally starting to get a good group together to handle all the many tasks that will take place on the day of the event itself.
He said it’s possible volunteers are a bit burned out from the other events that are now taking place as things have opened up.
Problems with the website also had some in the car community worried that there might not be a Cruise-In this year at all, and that took time to remedy.
As far as lessons for next year, Sestito said that communicating with merchants and other groups in Aldergrove is important. They’ve got good relationships with most of the people in the area where Cruise-In takes place, but they could do more.
Another issue is space.
There’s an ongoing clash between the ambitions of the organizers, who have ideas for new events and displays, and the amount of room they can find to hold those in downtown Aldergrove.
The annual Concours d’Elegance, a showcase for some of the oldest cars in the show, for example, had to be cancelled this year simply because the parking lot where it was planned is now a construction site. The owner got the permits a little earlier than expected, apparently, Sestito said.
But changes and challenges are part of running the annual show.
“It’s always evolving, and that’s normal,” said the president.
Sestito joked that every year about this time, he says he wants to step down from his post and turn the leadership role over to someone else. Then, not long after the Cruise-In has ended for one year, he finds himself making some calls, getting something set up, and he’s still president.
“I think the future looks good,” Sestito said.
They’ve found the Township great to work with again this year, he noted, and the committee is full of plans for the future.
And finally, with the Cruise-In on the horizon, the advance sign ups for cars are already at a very healthy level.
As of Thursday, Sept. 1 they were getting close to 800.
With 1,200 to 1,500 cars expected, many of them registering on the day of the event or just before it, getting that many pre-registrations is a good sign, Sestito said.
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