ON A hot summer evening when the sun drops behind the skyline of the historic buildings that stand tall around the Shelbyville Square, you can hear them coming. It’s not the usual sound of Friday afternoon traffic. It’s the revving of perfectly tuned engines.
As they roll into town for a cruise-in, all eyes are on them— a Crown Victoria, a souped-up muscle car, a well- preserved Mustang, and a Frankenstein rat rod built from spare parts. Proud owners carefully back their cars into spaces around the courthouse square and then open the hoods. With polishing rags hanging from their back pockets, they attend to the details of their cars, while family members set up camp for the evening, complete with lawn chairs and coolers.
The cruise-ins and car shows held at the Shelbyville Square are a pure slice of Americana, a portrait of America’s love affair with the automobile, and a display of community pride. Meticulously renovated or restored cars represent the culmination of years of effort. And when these cars leave the safety of their garages and come to town, it’s time to shine.
Everyone has a memory of a car, whether it was the first time behind the wheel, a first date, or a road trip to the beach. It’s funny how the simple details of a car, such as the sound, the smell, the chrome, or the color can instantly take you back to that moment in time you had all but forgotten—like the smell of the vinyl seats in a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle. Or riding in the rumble seat of your grandfather’s gray 1932 Ford Model A. Then there’s the time all the neighborhood kids piled into the Country Squire family station wagon for a trip to the circus.
Car shows and cruise-ins on the square are a time for reminiscing, admiration, and sharing a few hard-earned bragging rights. It’s a showcase of impressive cars and the stories of the people who own them. Cars, food trucks, kids, and dogs, what more does a person need?
For more information about the car shows and cruise- ins on the Shelbyville Square visit Historic Uptown Shelbyville on Facebook.-GN