TEMECULA ROD RUN
Friday Night Cruise
When: 5 to 8 p.m.
What: Temecula locks down Old Town from “arch to arch” to allow these “classic beauties” to run wild.
Cost: A “Cruise Night Only” option is $ 10 (no parking allowed). Registration for this “cash only” option will be available from 9 a.m to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3, at The Stampede, 28721 Old Town Front Street.
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What: This is the day where visitors can get a close look at these classic vehicles and take a peek under the hoods. The vehicles are freshly detailed and polished.
Notable: Due to crowd size, dogs are discouraged from attending. If necessary, dogs must be on a leash at all times. Scooters and skateboards are discouraged.
Source: City of Temecula
Spot No. 1.
A 1963 tuxedo black Impala driven by George Gushulak will be rolling into the vehicular catbird seat at this year’s Temecula Rod Run, the annual classic car show that includes a popular cruise down Old Town Front Street on Friday night and a show-and-shine on Saturday.
Gushulak, a 47 year old from San Diego, lucked into the primo spot after he had issues last year while he was trying to register for the show, a long-time fixture on the Southern California car show circuit that is staged by the city of Temecula.
“As soon as the website opens, the spots start blinking away … I tried to hit a spot and computer froze,” he said Thursday.
Using the old fashioned telephone — apropos for a show catering to classic car buffs –Gushulak eventually found a staffer who helped him navigate the same system, which recently replaced the first-come, first-serve process that had been used to divvy up spots.
When she mentioned No. 1 was available, Gushulak jumped at the chance.
“I threw the dice last year (his first time at the show) and it turned out so good I’m doing this from now on,” he said. “That place, when it’s in full swing, there’s literally thousands of people.”
The city of Temecula took over management of the show — a regional draw since 1986 and one of the city’s “signature events” — in 2013 after the nonprofit that used to stage it lost a key member to a new job in Texas.
A new wrinkle this year, said Temecula recreation supervisor Dawn Adamiak, is a “cruise only” option for car owners who don’t want to participate, or weren’t able to sign up for, Saturday’s show-and-shine.
“We are getting lots of calls about it,” she said, adding that in the past a driver could only cruise if they registered for both days.
It costs $ 10 — cash only — to cruise. Payments are being taken at The Stampede, 28721 Old Town Front Street, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 3.
The city’s stewardship of the venerable event, which used to be held twice a year, brought changes such as a “kid’s area” that will return this year on Third Street, a short walk from the free parking structure at Third and Mercedes streets.
The city booked all 600 available show-and-shine spots by early January but there’s no cap on the number of cars that will be allowed to cruise, provided those vehicles were built before 1975.
“You don’t pre-register for the Cruise Night, you can pay ‘at the door’ so to speak,” she said.
Cindy Helmstead, a member of the Drifters of Southern California car club, said that sort of set-up is typical at other shows and she was happy to see it added to the Rod Run, which will feature around 30 different cars from Drifters members.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said the Murrieta resident, who helps organize the Murrieta Rod Run that is held each fall. “We like to support the local community and the businesses there.”