Cruisin’ on Main Draws Thousands to Manchester, Connecticut
Posted on August 6, 2012
Stepping back in time has become a once a year tradition in Manchester, Connecticut where thousands of spectators strolled the downtown’s mile long main drag August 5, to enjoy the 12th annual Cruisin’ on Main. Sunny skies for most of the day and temperatures in the 90s, proved to be ideal conditions to attract vintage and classic vehicles, as well as, those who love to admire them. The show ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission was free.
Cruisin’ on Main is billed as the largest car collector show of its kind in the Northeast. As noted on its website, the event is meant to conjure up memories of an era in small town America when downtown stores stayed open late on Thursday nights and families turned out to shop while couples strolled along hand-in-hand.
Diagonal parking that lines Manchester’s Main Street made a perfect layout for the vehicles that ranged from antique Fords to classic Corvettes, vintage trucks, and street rods. To take part vehicles had to be at least 25 years old. Registration was $10.00. Proceeds go to cover the cost of the show and the remainder is donated to charities.
This year’s Cruisin’ on Main commemorative t-shirts featured a 1957 Cadillac convertible. Fern Fowler was all smiles as she bought one from Emily Guivas, who manned one of the t-shirt booths. Just down the hill a barbershop quartet from Manchester’s award-winning Silk City Chorus harmonized the lyrics “round, round, get around, I get around” from a popular Beach Boys tune.
Nearby, Terry Werkhoven was looking at a 1961 peppermint stick color VW convertible.
“I had one like this,” he recalled.
Werkhoven who will turn 90 on September 19, served as mayor of Manchester in the early 1990s. The show sparked some reminiscing for the former mayor who said he was born in the Netherlands. His family came to Connecticut when he was a baby and his father worked in an apple orchard in Farmington. There, he and his brother attended kindergarten at Miss Porter’s School, famous as an all girls secondary school from which Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was graduated.
“Yes, Miss Porter’s,” said Werkhoven with a smile.
After moving to Manchester, Werkhoven said he served on the town buildings committee. According to Werkhoven, he took a particular interest in the town’s schools and spent time on each school roof investigating their structural integrity. As a result, rubber membranes were installed at all of the schools with flat roofs, he said. Due to his knowledge about the buildings in Manchester, Werkhoven said he was approached about running for political office. Noting he remains active in local affairs, Werkhoven said currently he is involved in an effort to save Nathan Hale School, an older elementary school which may be headed for closing.
Werkhoven was not the only one representing a bit of Manchester and Connecticut history at the car show.
THE SHADY GLEN CONNECTION
Mention Manchester, CT and more than likely anyone familiar with the town has visited Shady Glen Dairy Stores. Family owned and operated since the 1940s, Shady Glen is well-known for its unique crispy cheese on burgers and frankfurters, secret recipe cole slaw and that yummy (the mocha chip is to die for) homemade ice cream. Their shops are located on Route 6 near the Bolton line and in the Manchester Parkade. A local institution for generations, Shady Glen’s reputation far exceeds the borders of the “City of Village Charm.” Despite the restaurants’ acclaim, owner Bill Hoch, Sr. is down-to earth and couldn’t be nicer. He was on hand Sunday, or
should that be ‘sundae,’ with a vintage ice cream delivery truck.
The store was founded by Hoch’s second cousin John Rieg and his wife Bernice. Bill Sr. is currently semi-retired and his son Bill Hoch, Jr. now mostly runs things. Shady Glen lovers need not worry, Bill Jr.’s 13-year-old son Taj Hoch, says he is interested in continuing the family business. The three cordially posed for a photo by their vintage truck.
“We plan to keep going,” said Bill Hoch, Jr.