Car enthusiasts gathered in Watseka’s Kay Park Aug. 13 for Don’s Cruise.
The event went from 3-8 p.m. and provided food by The Bread Basket Food Pantry and visits with American Tribe Equine Therapy Inc.
People gathered under the trees to talk and look at the wide variety of vehicles on display.
Organizer Derrick Carmichael said the event was in memory of Don Crews, who was president of the Poverty Rods Car Club. Carmichael said in 2021 it was the fifth year since Crews’ passing. It was also Racers for Christ, which was celebrating the 50th year.
“They stepped in and helped me and it’s become this,” he said. Last year there were 63 vehicles involved and the event continues to grow.
“It’s about coming together for a good cause,” he said. “Don Crews was a veteran.” He said the are donating to veterans charities. Half the money from the freewill donations for the food go to the food pantry.
Carmichael said Dave Konofsky of Racers for Christ is a big supporter. That organization has helped the event grow, he said.
Carmichael said his grandfather was a big baseball player and he remembers going to many ballgames with his grandfather. “When I think of baseball I think of the National Anthem and prayer. I get pretty emotional when I go to a national event and I hear the National Anthem and the prayer,” he said. “That’s what kind of led me to Racers for Christ.”
A love of cars has always been in Carmichael’s life. He noted that his father, Frank, introduced him to cars when he was very young. He said he remembers going to car shows and hanging out with his dad and friends and family members.
For several years the family was part of the Illiana Mud Runners. “We did that for several years,” he said.
The Aug. 13 show drew people from Chicago, Manteno, Champaign, and many of the local surrounding communities, including Kankakee, Pittwood, Cissna Park, Watseka, Crescent City and others.
Part of the Aug. 13 event included a cruise through town, which was done about 6:30 p.m. The cars went through downtown Watseka and past some of the nursing homes, through Legion Park, then through the west side of Watseka and back to Kay Park.
Carmichael is also in charge of organizing the car show for the Fried Green Tomatoes Festival, which is coming up Aug. 27.