EAST BEND — The inaugural East Bend Cruise Night on July 26 was a huge success. Despite the blazing summer heat, Main Street was packed with classic cars and people strolling the town to view the vehicles and purchase snacks such as homemade ice cream. Two additional cruise events are planned for Aug. 30 and Sept. 27.
The East Bend Cruise Night was the brainchild of local business owner Mark Hobson of Hobson Performance Cars. Seeing the success of cruise-ins in nearby towns such as Pilot Mountain, Hobson approached the town board about hosting a similar event in East Bend. The goal for the event, Hobson told the town board, was to bring visitors to the area and spur economic growth. He said he has been spending much of his day these last few weeks working on plans for the event.
“It’s worth it if I can get something going here in this town and see the smiles on people’s faces,” Hobson said.
Hobson estimated about 200 cars and 1,000 people attended the first East Bend Cruise Night and he hopes more folks will come out for the August and September events.
Hobson first approached the board in June with an ambitious goal of raising funds and hosting the first event just a month later. Hobson and his colleagues wasted no time in beginning to organize, and other local business owners quickly got on board to help sponsor the event. There are around 40 to 50 local businesses sponsoring the event, with more calling daily to be a part of the event. Also assisting with the planning and execution of the cruise-ins are Chris Brown, who also serves as the master of ceremonies for the event, Bob Norman, Inky Smith and Charles Norman.
“It’s amazing what it’s turning into,” Hobson said. “It’s just going to do something great for the community.”
Hobson said his initial idea was to be an event that would bring visitors to town and provide a boost for the local economy. It has grown to be much more, he said. At the final event in September, money will be donated to several local charitable organizations. Nonprofits and area churches are part of the cruise-in as well as businesses, with booths selling food. East Bend Cruise Night T-shirts are also available for purchase.
Hobson said he welcomes any additional area businesses which would like to get on board to support the event.
If everything continues to be successful at the next two cruise nights, Hobson said he plans to continue the tradition next year with six events from April through September.
Soloist Ron Hobson and band 5Play will be performing at the Aug. 30 Cruise Night.
For more information on the event, find the East Bend Cruise Night page on Facebook. To support the event, purchase a T-shirt or for more information, contact Hobson at 336-813-1258.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.