RENSSELAER — Rensselaer will be brimming with activity this weekend.
Rensselaer Central’s 2020 high school graduation ceremony will be held in the school’s parking lot from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday and several people are expected to check Phase 2 of the REN ART WLK murals that were completed this past weekend.
Another highlight: the 35th annual JC Cruisers’ Car Show and Cruise will be held Saturday, July 11 at Brookside Park.
Registration for the car show is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a fee of $15. The cruise will be held 6-9 p.m. through downtown Rensselaer and its perimeter.
The JC Cruisers are asking for a canned food donation or a cash donation for the local food pantry.
Trophies and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. and participants will judge the top two entries in Best of Show, Paint, Interior and Engine. Mayor Steve Wood will select his top choice and there will be Ladies Choice and oldest entry as well.
Food will be available from a handful of vendors at the park.
JC Cruisers president Walt Brown said several car enthusiasts have already signed up for the event, with more expected Saturday. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the amount of car shows this summer.
“We’re expecting a lot of cars,” he said. “This is the first show in the area and maybe the only show going on really.
“I think people just want to get out.”
There will be hand sanitizing stations as required by the Indiana State Health Department.
“It will be held outdoors where people should be able to keep social distancing,” Brown said. “If someone feels uncomfortable then they probably should stay at home.”
“We feel lucky to even do the cruise.”
Brookside Park is currently the scene of major construction with the addition of several youth ballfields. Brown said there should be ample parking to the west side of the park once gravel is placed this week.
“They took the two houses out on the 114 side, so it’s going to be nice,” he said. “But there just now getting stone out there, so the timing might be a little tight.”
Cars will line up for cruising around 5:45 p.m. before parading west on Ind. 114 and continuing through town. The route continues along Melville Avenue to Wood Road and back on U.S. 231.
Unfortunately, cruisers will not be able to make their traditional pass through the hospital and care center due to COVID-19, Brown said.
Brown, who has taught automotive classes at Rensselaer Central High School for nearly 30 years, and a handful of friends started cruise night 35 years ago during a get-together at Dale Murphy’s house in the mid-1980s. After spending time as an organizer of the event for a decade or so, Brown stepped away for several years.
Brown returned recently and was asked to be president of the JC Cruisers for the 2020 event.