Escondido, CA

Cruisin’ Grand could begin June 18

Photo by Lenny Kerbs

This is about as “definite maybe” an answer as I’ve gotten in some time. According to the city of Escondido, Cruisin’ Grand, aka “Hot Rod Heaven” could begin Friday, June 18, 4-9 p.m. 

Put the “could” in the sentence because Governor Gavin Newsom is scheduled to make a major announcement about COVID-19 on June 15. The city doesn’t want to be left twisting in the wind should the governor do something unexpected—such as announce more restrictions not less.

“We are ready to go on that Friday,” deputy director of communications Teresa Collins said earlier this week.  She noted that Ramona and El Cajon have already announced their “cruisin’ ” events. “But we wanted to be strictly legal and follow all of the state and county guidelines,” she said. “Right now we are ninety-nine percent sure.” City staff will be prepared to do everything to make the event happen, by blocking off traffic and putting up cones etc.

Perhaps just as important, the Cruisin’ Grand Facebook page has this statement: “Cruisin Grand has good news, we’ve been given an opening date June 18th Friday!  Unfortunately it won’t be May. We are currently working on our website: cruisin   Thank you for all your support we will be cruising soon!”

It will, however, have some physical differences. According to Collins, “there will be a full closure of Grand Avenue, so cars have enough room for social distancing.” 

Cruisin’ Grand, even if it doesn’t start exactly on Friday, June 18, will almost certainly start sometime around that date, and there will be many long, warm, hot rod Fridays to come during the summer and until the end of September.  So although the full Cruisin’ experience of six months of Fridays won’t happen, a shortened schedule will. 

You may well ask, why not ask Steve Waldron, the founder of Cruisin’ Grand? The answer is that the festival founder is one of the more telephone averse people we know—and until we can track him down physically— well, you can’t get the last word until you can get the first word!

For those who have forgotten what Cruisin’ Grand is—since we didn’t have one last year—this description from the Cruisin’ Grand website should refresh your memory: “We try to keep it simple, and focus only on what works with our community history, i.e. 1973 and earlier American-made Classics, Customs, Vintage, Muscle, and Hot Rods cruising Grand Ave, just like they did 50-60- years ago, on a Friday night, hopefully shoulder-to-shoulder with a date!

We invite those same cars to park on Grand Avenue and side streets and enjoy the early 50’s setting of downtown Escondido.”

Local residents should be able to see all this happen for themselves. As long as Governor Newsom cooperates. 

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