Cruise Night, the car show still has the wheel

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A Jacksonville springtime tradition is back this weekend — not that the Morton Avenue Misfits Downtown Auto Show and Night Cruise have really gone anywhere.

It was one of the few major public events that the pandemic has not canceled in recent years.

The pandemic “affected him, but not the way you think,” said Morton Avenue Misfits member Joel Buchanan. “It actually increased turnout because people were apparently tired of being stuck inside with nothing else to do.”

While the Misfits took precautions to keep attendees safe, including the use of masks and sanitizer, attendance did not falter. Rather the opposite.


“The 2020 event was the biggest we’ve ever hosted,” Buchanan said. “We were actually complimented and praised by attendees throughout the day. They were so relieved to have a sense of normalcy during the day, to have something to do.

“Obviously, these are not really confined spaces. You can keep your distance from others.

The car show will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the downtown plaza and Cruise Night will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on a driveway along Morton Avenue between South Main Street and Lincoln Avenue. Night cruise operations will be based at Hardee’s.

Participation in the cruise is free and open to all vehicles, regardless of make and model.

Attendance at the auto show is free for spectators, $20 for those entering a vehicle to judge, and $5 for those simply showing a vehicle.

The car show has 22 classes, ranging from stock and street rods to trucks and pedal cars.

“Whether it’s a 1930 Model A or a 2022 Corvette…we have courses for modified mods, street rods, a bit of everything,” Buchanan said.

Food vendors will also be present.

The Misfits hope people will take part in this year’s events as they have in recent years – “In recent years we’ve had between 200 and 250 cars showing up and taking part in the show, and well over 1 000 people meandering through the show,” Buchanan said — though they have new concerns this year that weren’t an issue during the pandemic.

“We don’t expect the pandemic to have a negative impact on events this year,” Buchanan said. “What worries me is the price of gasoline. Some of these vehicles are not very fuel efficient. If people have to come from 30, 40 miles, they have to factor in a hefty fuel bill. I think $5 gas, if any, will affect it more than the pandemic.

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