A cruise night full of classic cars came roaring back to life in Atascadero on Friday evening.
“It’s really cool to see so many people come together to celebrate something that they love,” said Atascadero resident Sam Erwin.
Thousands gathered in Atascadero for the 29th annual Hot El Camino Cruise Night.
“This event is special because all of the local people come out. Everyone’s waving across the street at each other to their neighbors, to their friends and family,” said Terrie Banish, public information officer for the City of Atascadero.
Organizers estimate more than 550 cars cruised down El Camino Real — a record-breaking number after two years of disruptions from the pandemic.
“It’s a great economic boost for us because all of our hotels are full and that too is a first in many years,” Banish added.
Crowds lined El Camino for a glimpse of classic cars of all shapes and sizes.
We asked people what brought them out.
“Beer, family and cars,” said Atascadero resident Aaron Baro.
“I wouldn’t call myself a car enthusiast but I’m looking forward to seeing all the cars from the 50s and 60s,” Erwin added.
People who live in Atascadero say that the event is special because it brings the entire city together.
“What makes it special is the people around you, the family atmosphere,” Baro said. “You can go up and down the main street in Atascadero and you’re gonna see families and friends out here just for the same thing I am.”
The parade was led off by the Atascadero Police Department and a classic police cruiser.
“It’s a 1955 Chevy converted into a police car. We use it for special events and we’re honored to be able to lead it off with our motor unit,” said Commander Robert Molle, Atascadero Police Department.
Organizers say the participation rate for the cruise has rebounded to 2019 levels.
The classic cruise night kicked off a weekend full of classic cars, food and fun in the City of Atascadero.
It continues on Saturday with the Mid-State Car Cruisers Show at Atascadero Lake Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the 6th Annual Dancing in the Streets starts at City Hall with live music, food, drinks, and other entertainment.
All events are free.