Lovingly restored vintage auto cruised through downtown Long Beach

A lovingly restored vintage auto cruised through downtown Long Beach during Rod Run’s Saturday night festivities in September 2018.

PENINSULA — The Peninsula’s annual Rod Run weekend is a loud, proud tribute to the golden age of American car manufacturing.

Car-lovers from all over the West roar into town to take part in one of the largest hot-rod shows on the West Coast, for a weekend of car shows, cruises and annual events, including the “slow drag” at the Port of Ilwaco. There are more than 800 official Rod Run entries at Ocean Park’s Wilson Field, plus many who bring pet vehicles to the beach for informal cruises and showing off.

As early as Thursday evening, spectators begin setting up tents and RVs in relatives’ yards, and staking out good curb-side seats for the traditional Friday and Saturday evening cruises in Long Beach.

The official Saturday cruise highlights the communities of the Peninsula’s north end, starting at the Beach Barons’ Wilson Field, motoring north through Nahcotta, through the historic village of Oysterville, and then out to the Pacific shore communities of Surfside and Ocean Park.

Starting as early as Thursday but reaching a crescendo on Saturday before receding Sunday, unofficial cruising is a fun and exciting activity up and down U.S. Highway 101/Pacific Avenue.

Especially with so many cars and people in close proximity, it’s important to obey all traffic laws and resist the temptation to burn rubber or engage in other tomfoolery that might place spectators or vehicle occupants at risk. Don’t plan on getting anywhere in a hurry on this jam-packed weekend — passing the car in front of you won’t accomplish anything.

Some see Rod Run as an opportunity for a farewell-to-summer party, cheering the cruisers on with red plastic cups in hand. But the men and women who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in their lovingly restored rides tend to take the event much more seriously. From Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, they stand at attention by their Bel-Airs and Mustangs and Darts and Model-Ts, with chamois cloths in hand, ready to spitshine at a moment’s notice.

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