How to Organize a Cruise Night

by Contributor

Classic car enthusiasts love showing off their lovingly restored and pampered automobiles. Attending and participating in car shows is one way to get your ride a little attention. Another fun way is to organize a cruise night, which can be a small, informal affair held on a weekly basis or a huge, impromptu car show/cruise that includes music, food, fun, and, of course, lots of classic cars. How you organize a cruise night will vary some, depending on the size of your venue and the amount of time you have to plan the event.

Choose a day and time for your cruise night. Some cities choose to have recurring cruise nights on the same night every week. These are usually held at the same location, begin at about the same time and end whenever everyone is ready to go home. Larger cruise nights might be held on the same Saturday each month and offer more than just a place to park your car and talk shop with fellow metal heads.

Find a location to hold a cruise night. This will have to be pre-arranged with someone who has the authority to okay the event being held at the location you have chosen. Sometimes you can find a location that won't charge you to set up there, but other larger venues such as fairgrounds usually involve a fee. See the eHow article "Find Locations for a Cruise Night."

Determine if you will need to charge people to display their car and take part in the "cruise." Generally, cruise nights are free of charge, but if you use a venue that requires a fee for its use, then you may have to pass this cost on to those in attendance. If a fee is required, make sure everyone knows up front and arrange for someone to collect the fee and keep track of who's paid.

Advertise your cruise night in advance to let car enthusiasts know when and where to congregate. Include on the flyer what time you will begin, what, if any, activities will go on during the cruise, what kind of food will be available either at the site itself or nearby restaurants, a phone number where interested persons can ask questions and any other pertinent information. Good locations to post flyers include auto parts stores, classic car dealers, car mechanic shops and other car club events.

Invite non-profit organizations to join the fun by setting up booths to sell food and drinks to those attending the cruise. You wouldn't go to this trouble for a small, recurring weekly cruise, but for larger monthly cruise nights and especially annual events, it draws a larger crowd if there's food and other activities lined up for the evening.

Check with the proper city officials and local police station to see if any special permits are needed to hold a cruise night. You rarely need anything for informal cruise nights, which are generally held in the parking lot of a local businessman who likes cars. Larger events, especially those where food and beverages will be sold, sometime require certain permits or at the very least notification to local law enforcement as to what will be taking place.

Make a map of the cruise route the cars will be taking at a specific time, or whenever they feel like taking a little spin. In smaller towns and for short routes, this is obviously not necessary, but in larger cities where the route might be several miles long, a map is convenient, especially for anyone who cruised in from out of town to join you.

Show up at the appointed time to do any final organizing and watch the cars pull in. Remember if the event is held outdoors and it rains, then the cruise is canceled. Smaller venues might require some fancy parking maneuvers to get everyone to fit and in these cases you may need to mark the specific parking spaces, so you won't have people taking up more room than you have available.


  • check Not only does a cruise night involve taking the car out to be displayed at a set location, most people will also "cruise" a specific route either once or several times throughout the evening, but always winding up back at the original location. Thus, the term "Cruise Night."
  • check Old-fashioned cruise nights were completely unorganized weekly events where local car enthusiasts simply knew where and when to meet each week to show off their cars and to cruise. The events have grown in popularity over the years so that larger cruise nights take a little planning.
  • check For really large events, find sponsors to help promote your cruise night and help with any costs you might incur, so you won't have to charge those who participate or attend.


  • close Some cities have banned "cruising," even around a specific route. This is another reason to contact the local police department to see if they will permit cruising during the event, if it is illegal. If participants start getting ticketed, then cruise night becomes a real drag.

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