Ada native Kevin Holland remembers the days when he and his friends cruised down Main Street, chatting with friends and looking for fun.
“That’s what everybody did on Friday and Saturday nights was cruise,” said Holland, who serves on the board of directors for the Ada Main Street program. “It was more than just driving your car back and forth. It was a social event.”
Those memories came in handy several years ago when Holland and other Ada Main Street board members were trying to come up with an idea for the nonprofit’s summer event. Holland suggested reviving the tradition of cruising Main Street, and a new event was born.
Holland said he told everyone he knew about the event and urged them to attend, and his efforts paid off when he saw cars lined up on Main Street that night.
“That first year, the traffic was insane,” he said. “Main Street literally was just a parking lot, practically, from one end of town to the other. And literally from Oak Avenue all the way to Mississippi, traffic was backed up.
“But it was so much fun. People just coming together that hadn’t been downtown in ages.”
Today, Ada Main Street’s annual Cruisin’ Main event offers an evening of nostalgia for people who want to relive the times they spent hanging out with their friends. The event also showcases downtown Ada and gives people a chance to check out the district’s shops and restaurants.
This year’s edition of Cruisin’ Main will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 23, on Main Street in downtown Ada. The event is free and open to the public, but there will be a fee for those who want to buy an ice cream float from a local 4-H group or purchase snacks from one of the food trucks.
Master of ceremonies Rich Kaye will play music and conduct giveaways in Juliana Park, and the food trucks will set up shop in the 100 block of North Rennie Avenue. That section of Rennie will be blocked off for the food trucks, creating an area where people can relax while enjoying their snacks.
“Kind of a food court-type area so that families can listen to the music there at Juliana Park, eat at the food trucks and have a place to sit down and get out of the heat a little bit,” said Ada Main Street program director Amy Kaiser.
The 100 block of South Rennie will also be closed for Cruisin’ Main’s traditional classic-car display. In keeping with the automotive theme, photographer Wes Edens will take photos of people’s cars in front of the Coca-Cola sign on the Nutrition Mission building, 231 E. Main.
People seeking relief from the heat can duck into the McSwain Theatre, which will show the movie “American Graffiti” at 8 p.m. Set in the early ‘60s, the movie focuses on a group of teenagers and their adventures over a single night in Modesto, California.
People who want souvenirs of Cruisin’ Main can buy commemorative T-shirts from Ada Main Street, which sells the shirts as a fundraiser. The shirts will be available before and after the event and will cost $15 apiece for youth through adult sizes.
The T-shirts, which have a new design each year, are popular collectible items, Kaiser said.
“We try to keep them different enough that from year to year, it’s something that people look forward to,,” she said.
For more information about Cruisin’ Main, call Ada Main Street at 436-1600 or drop by Kaiser’s office, located inside the Shaw Center at 124 E. Main St.