Classic, custom cars on display

Friday, March 27, 2009
Photo by Clint Confehr James Duermeier tightens the screws on his antique auto tag at the left rear fender of his 1935 Buick. Lewisburg Cruise-In the Square are on May 30, June 27, July 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 26 from 5-8 p.m., but Relay for Life's cruise-in is 10 a.m. Saturday at Rock Creek Park.

It's time to get ready for the first of five monthly car shows on Lewisburg's public square, where merchants meet enthusiasts for three hours that defy the thinking in other towns that have banned cruising.

The Lewisburg Cruise-In the Square is where those big ol' boats of the highway, muscle cars and Fast Eddie's Roadster Roll will stop for those monthly moments. Meanwhile, Relay for Life is having a Cruise-In at Rock Creek Park at 10 a.m. this Saturday.

Monthly Cruise-Ins are 5-8 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month starting in May and ending in September.

Picking up on the vibes is James Duermeier, a retired tool-and-die maker at Twin Cave Drive who's been looking for a place to show off his 1935 Buick that has an in-line, straight eight-cylinder motor, and a couple of suicide doors -- the kind that open backwards.

A friend tipped him off about this weekend's event, but the downtown show promises more opportunity to display cars like his Buick that may well be the last in a series of soft tops that stay in place.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Duermeier worked in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina before landing at Walker Tool and Die in Lewisburg. After 13 years, he retired and has been messin' with motors.

These car shows are part of home-town life -- sort of a return to American Graffiti, but set for those who survived the 1950s or long for the return of that reality in a country that loves its cars.

There's been a regular get-together at the Sonic Drive-In for car enthusiasts, and some of what Lewisburg's promotor, Greg Lowe, calls the "Sonic Guys" have been participating in the development of the monthly Cruise-In the Square.

"It's just a bunch of us who decided to put it on," Lowe said. "Back when the Lewisburg Downtown Alliance was being formed, this was one of the ideas that was being kicked around."

The "Cruise-In" idea gained some momentum with support from Edmund Roberts, a local leader who has his own collection of classic cars.

"The committee has grown from about three to more than 20," Lowe said. "There's no fee to participate in the show. We're no doing this for any money other than to bring more activity to the square from the county and beyond the county line."

Various service clubs are participating, he said, naming the Lewisburg Lions Club and the Kiwanis. Hot dogs, hamburgers and cheese burgers are to be cooked by the clubs while the Emporium's ice cream parlor and sandwich counter will be open.

The volunteers are looking to Marshall County officials for permission to open the ground-floor restrooms for the events, Lowe said. More on the facilities and other plans should be available in about three weeks after the committee mets at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. on April 16.

Lewisburg Cruse-In Committee members include Carl Warren, Edmund Roberts, Mike Wiles, Earl Black, Mike Martin, Doug Lee, Joseph Gabard, Alfred Doggett, Cameron Coble, Freddie Capps, Terry Dillard, Ratat Sharma, Clay Ledford, Joe Currier, Tonya Currier, Kevin Cole, Debbie Cole, Ron Maggi, Tyree Smith, Dennis May and Lynda Potts.

Lewisburg Cruise-In the Square will be on May 30, Jue 27, July 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 26. Organizers invite car enthusiasts to cruise in at 5 p.m. and to cruise-on at 8 p.m.