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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Fog/Mist, 63 °F

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Sixth annual Cruise-In at the Convo gathers crowd, funds despite rainy skies

Marching 110 fundraiser joins On The Green Weekend 2016


Combatting rainy skies, a total of 59 vintage cars, motorcycles and trucks revved their engines into the Convocation Center parking lot Saturday for the Ohio University Alumni Varsity Band’s (AVB) sixth annual Cruise-In at the Convo.

Approximately 300 car enthusiasts, OHIO alumni, friends and family representing 18 counties in Ohio and West Virginia, plus the states of South Carolina and Maryland, wandered up and down the lot to admire the historic cars, chat with drivers and compare favorite vehicles.

“We expect the numbers to increase,” said Aaron Romero, AVB founder and organizer of the event. “But [even with] crummy weather, we always draw good numbers.”

Romero, who received his master’s degree in 1995 from OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, proposed the event six years ago as a consistent, stand-alone fundraiser to support the efforts of the Ohio University Marching Band Society of Alumni and Friends (OUMBSAF). This is the event’s first year as a part of the OHIO Alumni Association’s spring Homecoming, On The Green Weekend.

Romero estimates that between $2,000 and $2,400 were raised in total, a significant increase from last year’s total of $1,676.20

While the dreary weather had potential to drown the fun, car owners were not deterred by the drizzling skies.

“I drive this car all year round, so nothing stops me,” said Athens local and first-time Cruise-In participant Mark Sinnott. “I just like looking at all the cars and talking to the other guys who have theirs out.” Sinnott is the owner of a 2001 Ford F150 that he reassembled from scratch and drives every day to work.

“The Jammin’ Jenns Morning Show” kept the crowd entertained with through-the-decades tunes, in addition to presenting a 50/50 raffle and awarding door prizes of tool kits, engine fluid, car wash and other vehicle upkeep goodies.

Marilyn Allen, BSEd '58, walked away with a prize bucket of car washing supplies for her ladybug-themed 2001 VW Bug. Allen is a seasoned Cruise-In participant from Columbus and owns an additional vintage vehicle: a 1979 convertible. 

“I call my cars Pride and Joy,” she said, proudly sticking magnetic black dots onto the Bug’s bright red hood.

Choice award plaques were presented at the conclusion of the event, and included categories such as “President’s Choice,” “DJ’s Choice,” “Sponsor’s Choice” and “Driver’s Choice,” among many others.

A favorite Cruise-In at the Convo tradition is the featured “Kid’s Choice” awards program, where kids of all ages present personalized plaques to their favorite vehicle.

Eric Carpenter, 11, chose to give his award to Don Shilling’s 1998 Honda Valkyrie motorcycle “because of how intricate the design was.” This was his fourth year judging the event.

Shilling, recurrent Cruise-In attendee, drove his bike in from Moundsville, West Virginia. It was the first time his bike was showcased at the Cruise-In with its detailed paint job fully completed.

The bike’s artist Tad Gallaugher, retired designer and illustrator for Printing Services at OHIO, accompanied Shilling to answer questions about his work.

“Everybody comes to me with an idea, but I try to pull those blinders back and show them what they can have,” Gallaugher said. “It’s a lot of love and a lot of heart and the end result shows it.”

The Cruise-In at the Convo is a special event for the Alumni Varsity Band because it rekindles a fountain of youth, Romero explained.

“You’ll see an actual vehicle from the ‘30s, ‘20s or ‘50s,” Romero said. “To me, that’s real history, that’s not book history.”

See photos from the event here.