The 20th annual Cruisin’ Grand is ready to come rumbling and barreling down the boulevard on April 5 for another six months of warm Friday evenings celebrating America’s enduring romance with the muscle car.
The festival will begin 5 p.m.–9 p.m. (although the streets are closed off by 4 p.m.) with the side streets blocked between Ivy and Orange, and the seven blocks of fun happen between Juniper and Maple.
As is traditional, the first night of Cruisin’ will be Willy’s Night & Good Guys. About 800 cars from the Del Mar Good Guys will be driving from Del Mar on Friday afternoon along Via De La Valle to take part in the Escondido event—something they do each year.
Dusty and The LoveNotes will play on Opening Day on the corner of Kalmia & Grand.
And many Escondido merchants couldn’t be happier.
Alex Machlachlan, president of the Downtown Business Association, told The Times-Advocate:
“The start of Spring and the start of Cruisin’ Grand are synonymous on Grand Avenue.
It’s a very important and exciting time for many downtown businesses too as thousands of potential customers stroll down our sidewalks for six months of Fridays.
I can’t wait to get my first bag of the best kettle corn and watch my daughter win some frozen yogurt in the weekly Hula Hoop contest!”
He added, “Vinklectic has expanded and does well on Fridays. Esco Gelato, H Brothers, Burger Bench, Plan 9 all should do well during Cruisin’. Dan and Heather over at Design Moe Kitchen and Bath always stay open for Cruisin’ Grand.”
Derek Loranger of Burger Bench commented, “As you know, we are pretty busy already on Fridays, so it’s not really the level of business that increases, although there is a bump. The best part of Cruisin’ Grand is the exposure to new customers. We have a lot of regular customers, but we see a lot of new faces on Friday nights during Cruisin’ Grand. I’d like to think we end up with a lot of future return customers.”
Loranger added, “We put our best person on the register, because our menu has expanded over the years and it’s nice to have someone help first-timers through it. I believe our reasonable kid’s offerings are what helps draw whole families here while they are walking up and down Grand Avenue. At some point, everyone in the group is hungry and kids really love our tots. (So do the adults!)”
They don’t offer any specials on Fridays, “because most people can find something they like here. I mean, what goes better with classic cars than burgers, beer, and milkshakes?”
Louisa Magoon, of the Grand Tea Room said, “Yes, we’re looking forward to it. We don’t get many people wanting to sit and have tea. It’s not what people are looking to do on a Friday night after looking at cars. But people come in to look around and shop in the gift shop. We get people come in who didn’t know we were here and are always excited to come back with their family and friends.”
Kaitlyn Rose Pilsbury, the “Rosie” of Rosie’s Café is enthusiastic about another Cruisin’ Grand. “Rosie’s café is thoroughly excited to participate in another year of Cruisin’ Grand! As proud sponsors we look forward to spending our Friday nights with an incredible Escondido community filled with local love, good energy, amazing music and of course the beautiful classic cars! If you haven’t already, make it a landmark of your week—there’s no place Rosie’s Café would rather be.”