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Classic cars to cruise on Mother's Day weekend

Local car clubs are busting out their favorite classics, old and new muscle cars, and other rigs for a pair of car cruises this weekend — pandemic be darned.

They’ll social distance, of course.

But cruise, they must.

Members from a variety of local car clubs plan to cruise through the parking lots of at least a half-dozen assisted living or skilled nursing facilities Saturday.

Sunday they’ll cruise the entire community of Central Point in honor of Mother’s Day.

Saturday’s event will kick off at 10 a.m. and include three facilities along Barnett Road — Brookdale Senior Living, Barnett Woods and Hearthstone Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The second half of the route will include Avamere at Three Fountains, Avamere at Waterford and Horton Plaza.

White City resident John Ruth, a member of the Rogue Valley Old Timer Car Club, was approached by one facility, and the event grew from there.

A retiree who often shows a 1951 Kaiser Traveler Deluxe, Ruth said car club members were as excited to get out and show their cars as the facilities who asked to be included in the cruise event.

“We got a message a few weeks ago asking whether we could drive some cars through their place. Within a few days, we had six places on the list,” Ruth said.

“The residents in the facilities, they really have been cooped up. I live on six acres outside Eagle Point. I’m able to go out and do stuff around the property, but they don’t have anywhere to go with everything restricted and closed down.”

Ruth said a few dozen cars hosted a cruise Wednesday through the Bonaventure parking lot, and residents at that facility were happy to see the cars and enjoy some sunshine. Temperatures this weekend could reach the low 90s.

Sheri Bowers, Brookdale Senior Living programs coordinator, said residents have asked about the cruise daily since it was first mentioned.

“Our residents have hung in there for so long, and my heart just goes out to them because they’re in this building and they can’t have any visitors. I have really tried to think outside the box as far as what can we do for them while keeping them safe at the same time,” Bowers said, adding that her facility would include additional events, including local singer Kacie Bowers, family and friends in their own vehicles, and makeshift parade floats.

“I try my best to think of things to do with them, but still they have to be six feet apart in the building. Even at mealtime, it’s one to a table and you can tell it’s wearing on them. This is just not how it should be, so this will get them outside to inhale the fresh air.”

The Mother’s Day cruise begins at 1 p.m. Sunday in Central Point and will be more elaborate and include a large portion of the city. Cars will begin at Scenic Middle School and make their way through neighborhoods across town. Viewers are asked not to gather in groups but to watch from their yards.

It is hosted by Southern Oregon Car Club Council, a group of roughly 30 car clubs. Sanford is hoping for a good turnout and said some members in the various groups would cruise both days.

Sanford said the event seemed like a fun way to enjoy the weather and celebrate moms while local events are canceled and social distancing rules are still in place.

“Car enthusiasts are wanting to get their cars out of the garage for some fresh air, and spectators are wanting to enjoy the sight and hear these beautiful cars,” she said.

“It’d be cool for residents to come out to the streets if their road is in the route. Or to park on one of the streets or parks we pass by. Keeping social distancing and preferably staying in their cars since we can have big crowds. We just want to follow the guidelines, but for everybody to have a good time, too.”

Community volunteer Debbie Saxbury has promoted the cruise on her Facebook group, Central Point What’s Happening.

“Something just needed to be done for Mother’s Day, and then I had a text from a car club asking if Central Point would be a good fit, so we jumped in with both feet. My husband and I went and drove through the neighborhoods to see which ones they could get all the cars through safely,” Saxbury said, adding that the more she advertised the cruise, the more people asked for their neighborhoods to be added.

“We are hoping people will sit in front of their houses, play some great music and watch the cars go by. It will be fun for everyone. I, for one, am pumped that something cool like this can happen in my little town.”

Sunday’s route for the Mother’s Day cruise can be seen on the Facebook group, Central Point What’s Happening, at www.facebook.com/CENTRAL-POINT-OREGON-WHATS-HAPPENING-AROUND-TOWN-122246884471087/

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Medford Cruise riders wave at spectators along Front Street in downtown Medford. File photo