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"Small Town" The Dalles' Big Time "Cruise the Gorge"

Photos by Scot McMullen, Story by Steve Hudson

The Dalles is a small town on the East end of the Columbia River Gorge known for cherries, windsurfing, beautiful scenery, interesting history and lots of sun. Some 21 years ago the members of the Mid-Columbia Car Club decided to host a car show to bring visitors into the area, and "Cruise the Gorge" was born. It is now the town's largest annual community event.

The weekend kicks off with the "Neon Cruise" Friday evening downtown. Hundreds of cool cars and thousands of spectators gather to celebrate America's love affair with the automobile. "The Gut" downtown has been a popular cruise spot since the early 50's, and generations of locals and visitors alike look forward to re-living the glory days of cruising in small town America. For the first time this year the streets were completely closed to all but registered cruisers for 2 hours, a change that was well received and will be incorporated into all future Cruise the Gorge weekends.

On Saturday, over 300 cars and trucks of all types cruised up for the "Show in the Shade" in beautiful Soroses Park over1ooking The Dalles and the Columbia River Gorge. It was plenty warm, but the grass covered and tree-shaded setting made for a pleasant day with as much or little sun as you preferred. In any event, the cars were definitely cool, and the raffle and door prize giveaways, oldies music, food and friends made for a fun day culminating in the famous "Cruise of Champions" awards ceremony in which over 40 awards were handed out to the winners as they paraded past the spectators.

Cruise the Gorge is co-sponsored by The Dalles Rotary club, and the 2017 event raised nearly $10,000 for their Scholarship Fund.

For those who stayed in town, there was the "Neon Cruise Party" at Lewis and Clark park Saturday evening, and then on Sunday you could choose between the exciting "Dallesport Drags" at the municipal airport across the river, or the relaxing Dufur Classic Car Show in the little town just 13 miles South of The Dalles.

Always the 2nd weekend in August, check the webpage www. midcolumbiacarclub.org for details, and take a look at "My Classic Car" season 21, episode 12 for an exciting overview of the sights and sounds of Cruise the Gorge weekend.


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