Michael McCormic, Jr.
BATTLE GROUND — The annual community celebration for the city of Battle Ground came to a close on Sunday, but not before bringing residents a time they will not soon forget.
On Friday evening, the 5th Annual Harvest Nights Cruise In drew an enormous crowd of people who share a mutual interest in appreciating and preserving classic cars.
Hot rods, muscle cars, station wagons, trucks, cruisers, and even a hearse wowed the crowd as they cruised up and down main street. Entering at 5th and Main around 5 p.m., vehicles first traveled east on Main Street, then turned around near Al and Ernie’s Foodliner off Grace Ave. and cruised westward. Because there are approximately 400 applicants for this event, the Cruise In’s website indicates that it could have taken three hours to get all the cars on the route.
The Harvest Nights Cruise In was founded in 2012 by Veronica and Dan Mirehouse, when what began as a simple joke turned into this community favorite event. The two collaborated with Amy Price, the organizer for the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce Show and Shine, and concluded that the Cruise In would not only be an exciting addition to the Harvest Days event line-up, but would also be a way to honor and remember Officer Mike Molzahn, who died in a drowning accident in 2011.
Since then, the Cruise In has continued to grow in number of participants and spectators. As such, event organizers are able to donate proceeds to a different charity each year. Last year, the money went to North Clark County Food Bank and the Christmas Basket Fund.
Photos by Mike Schultz
Live entertainment was provided as a local band played at the Chevron on Parkway and Main, while an adults only beer garden at Cerveza Factory gave residents an opportunity to sample food and drink from the newly opened restaurant. Other eateries along the route remained open for the event, as well as some food trucks that are not regularly seen in the area.
One fan favorite event at the Cruise In is the burnout pit. Located in the Urban Basics parking lot, cruisers wanting to add a bit more notoriety to their car’s image were invited to showcase their best possible burnout in front of the cheering crowds. This event, however, was not for the faint at heart; the very first contestant in the pit broke his rear axle and had to be pushed out of the burnout area. Even still, the desire to create an enormous pillar of smoke that engulfs the entire crowd drew dozens of drivers away from the cruise route and into the pit.
For the local residents, the Cruise In is a timeless event over which generational gaps can be bridged. Grandparents, parents, and children, sometimes into the fourth generation come to Main Street in Battle Ground simply to enjoy the classic cars and bond as a family. Some grandparents with show-worthy cars entered their vehicles in the cruise with grandchildren in the bucket seats.