ALPENA - Alpena's 27th annual Ramblin' Rods summer car show, the 2012 Ripley Big Boy Cruise Night, is scheduled for Friday from 3-9 p.m.
Muscle cars, street rods, hot rods, and classic rides of all kinds will be on display in the Ripley Big Boy parking lot from 3 p.m. until the "Sweetheart Cruise" through town at 9 p.m., when a caravan of the vintage vehicles will tour Ripley Boulevard, Ninth Avenue, Chisholm Street, State Street, and head back to Big Boy with a police escort. Ramblin' Rods President Gailynn Reed said dwindling volunteers has forced the event to shrink in scope and move from Saturday to Friday, but it does not require registration or charge admission, and its turnout remains healthly.
"Usually we have anywhere from 60 to 100 cars at the Big Boy," she said. "Probably about 60 go on the cruise."
In addition to the obvious draw for auto enthusiasts, the event will host games for children and families including a hula hooping contest, limbo, face painting, and possibly a pie eating contest. A DJ will play classic music for the crowd, and Big Boy staff will award a Big Boy Choice Trophy to the car of their choice at the end of the night. Big Boy Manager Sheila Panknin said the restaurant will be serving its owner's special "Lud's Giantburger" all week.
"Miles Ludlow was the owner of the Lud's Restaurant. He came up with a recipe for the sauce and actually invented this hamburger, and throughout the years it's become very popular. It has a unique taste all to its own. Right now, to make it, I have to order in special product to put it together to be able to sell it at Big Boy," she said. "It's a major tradition."
Panknin notices that the event's decorations and fashions have changed, and the car owners are older; but like the cars themselves, she said, its tradition is ageless.
What: 2012 Ripley Big Boy Cruise Night
When: 3-9 p.m. Friday
Where: Ripley Street Big Boy in Alpena
"Our customers have grown to expect it," she said. "They come in all times of the year and ask, 'When is your car show, when is your car show?' It's an event that people expect, and it's what Ripley Big Boy is partially known for."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.