A sleek red 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and a 1916 Hudson Super Six — along with over 800 other hot rods and classic cars — line the Cache County Fairgrounds for the 37th Annual Cache Valley Cruise-In.
The three-day event organized by the Cache Valley Cruising Association brings car lovers from all over the United States to display their vehicles.
David Poole, a patron of the car show, said the draw is in “coming to enjoy some cars that you don’t get to see every day and Saturday when you get to see them drive on Main Street.”
The Cruise-In welcomes first-time car show enthusiasts like Debbie Evans-Harbins as well as returning veterans like 37-year returning car enthusiast Marv Hansen.
“I have never missed a year,” Hansen said. “I’m just a car guy. I have been my whole life. It’s just neat to come down and look at everyone’s different ideas on how to do and paint colors.”
A part of the tradition is the parade at the conclusion of the event, where the hot rods and classic cars drive down Logan’s Main Street on Saturday. But due to funding issues, this could possibly be the last year CVCA hosts the parade.
“The parade is a big plus to everything, though, because that’s what really brings everyone out,” said Matt Ramos, a patron of the car show. “Sometimes I see people lined up all the way down Main. So I think it’s going to be a big change in Cruise-In if it doesn’t happen next year.”
In years past, the City of Logan has covered the cost of closing down Main Street for the parade, including pay — often overtime — for police officers and public works.
But those costs have gone up over the years, and now they can add up to nearly $10,000, according to a letter from the city to the CVCA. Due to budget constraints and because the city doesn’t cover the costs of other groups’ parades, city officials notified CVCA in December 2018 that for the parade to continue, the group would have to cover those costs on its own.
The offered to work with CVCA on ways to reduce costs, including moving the parade off Main Street and onto a city street. After considering the alternatives, the club decided to discontinue the parade.
According to CVCA member Sherry Harrison, in order for the parade to be held on Main Street, the Utah Department of Transportation gives CVCA a permit to close the road for an hour and a half.
“It’s a protection for our cars because people have a lot of money invested in these vehicles, so they don’t want someone spinning out on the side of them,” Harrison said.
Because Main Street is a highway, it is regulated by UDOT, which requires more officers to block off than a city-regulated road, making the expense of the event much higher.
Logan originally told CVCA they wouldn’t pay for the 2019 parade, but after a meeting in January, officials decided to cover the costs for one more year.
Unlike the car show where patrons pay for admission, the parade is free to the public. Harrison said CVCA understands the fees are to cover the expenses of the extra officers, but because of the lack of income from the parade, the nonprofit organization cannot cover the expenses without the help of the city.
“We’re not saying ‘no’ to pay the police, because I’m thrilled to death the police are there,” Harrison said.
But Hansen said discontinuing its monetary support for the parade is a mistake for the city because of the revenue it brings to the businesses in Logan.
“There’ll be people on Main that have been there for two days already just looking forward to this day,” Hansen said. “It’s totally ridiculous.”
Poole said that although he understands not having the budget, the loss of the parade will be felt in the community.
“I get the budget cuts and everything, but at the same time, I guess it’s kind of what Logan is known for,” Poole said. “I’ve only been here for a few years but the car show seems to be the one that everybody knows about and everyone looks forward to in July.”
Ramos said he also understood why the parade might fade out.
“I guess we can always watch them drive out when they’re all done, but I mean, the parade always brings a lot of people together,” Ramos said. “I understand that the budget’s cut.”
The parade started as a way to organize and tame participants dragging Main after the Cruise-In decades ago, initially saving the city money because participants didn’t cause as much damage, CVCA President Brandon Douglas told The Herald Journal in March.
Harrison assures the CVCA will not stop hosting the Cruise-In even after the parade is discontinued. She said there is no tension between CVCA and Logan.
“We’re not mad,” Harrison said. “My kids and my family like the parade as much as anybody else. We just can’t afford it.”