Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Cruisn’ onto Faribault’s Central Avenue on a summer evening July 19, 2016

A 1946 Fleck's

A 1946 Fleck’s delivery truck is showcased along Faribault’s Central Avenue at the July 15 Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Night. Donated to the Rice County Historical Society, this Fleckenstein Brewery delivery truck is the only known one to still exist. Efforts are underway to restore the truck  with a gofundme site established to raise $35,000 for the project. Fleckenstein Brewery was in business in Faribault for 108 years.



Car Cruise Night, 28 die in window



I've discovered that car collectors often possess a quirky sense of humor.

I’ve learned that car collectors often possess a quirky sense of humor.

HUMOR—all rolled into Faribault’s monthly Car Cruise Night on Friday evening in the heart of our historic downtown.


Car Cruise Night, 1 lime green Ford 4x4


Car Cruise Night, 71 boy in Mercedes


Car Cruise Night, 55 Pioneer collectible car


What an event. For three hours I meandered and perused the vehicles angled into parking spots along the 200 and 300 blocks of Central Avenue. Music blared. Cars roared and rumbled. And folks lingered car-side and curb-side to admire vehicles ranging from a polished lime green Ford F250 4×4 truck to a Pioneer collectible car to a mini Mercedes driven by a preschooler.


Car Cruise Night, 25 street scene downtown Faribault


The atmosphere was kicked back relaxing against a backdrop of lovely historic buildings on a perfect Minnesota summer evening.


Car Cruise Night, 81 skateboarders


Car Cruise Night, 85 hanging out


Car Cruise Night, 17 man passing through


Friends conversed. Car enthusiasts mingled. Teens skateboarded and biked through the crowd while families group-walked, men clustered to talk cars and a couple leaned in close to study an engine. Others simply went about their business downtown, seemingly oblivious.


Car Cruise Night, 113 Chrysler 300, 1965


I’ve been to many of these Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Nights, and never have I seen such a crowd. Participants included my friends Larry and Sheryl who arrived in their creamy pale yellow 1965 Chrysler 300, a car which recently took them on a road trip to the Ozarks of Missouri.


Car Cruise Night, 111 Chevy pick-up truck 1950

This truck, originally painted a dark green, belonged to Dean’s grandfather. It was then passed on to Dean’s dad, who painted it John Deere green. When Dean got the truck after his father’s death, he painted it black. Growing up, Dean learned to drive the pick-up in an alfalfa field. Although others have suggested that Dean soup this truck up, he intends to keep it as original as possible.

Across the street, Dean shared that he is the third generation owner of a 1950 Chevy pick-up, a truck he will some day pass on to his son. The truck means a lot to Dean, whose father died 26 years ago of a massive heart attack in his mid fifties.


Car Cruise Night, 36 Imperial


A block away, my friend Barb directed me to the classy 60s-something Chrysler Imperial she and husband Bob drove to the event.


Car Cruise Night, 45 in loving memory


If there’s one universal emotion among participants in Car Cruise Night, it’s pride. In every gleaming bumper, every personalized message, every vintage period accessory, I see the pride of those who own these vehicles.


Park stickers grace the window of a 1959 Edsel Village Wagon.

Park stickers grace the window of a 1959 Edsel Village Wagon.


Car Cruise Night, 64 red car


This one-of-a-kind ginormous trophy was unveiled

This one-of-a-kind ginormous trophy was unveiled at the Car Cruise. It will be awarded on August 19 to the car club with the 10 best cars during the Car Club Show Down.

Memories are polished in to these vehicles that are more than mere modes of transportation. These are Saturday night dates, family vacations, bumpy rides across alfalfa fields, first cars, trophy winners. These are stories of people and places and moments in life.

A show of humor on the back of a 1974 Ford Torino.

A humorous touch on the back of a 1974 Ford Torino.

Please check back for two more posts featuring images from the July 15 Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Night organized by Faribault Main Street and supported by numerous sponsors.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Cruisn’ onto Faribault’s Central Avenue on a summer evening”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Favorite picture is the little cruiser in the baby Mercedes. Priceless.

  2. Tom Bosshardt Says:

    Audrey: Faribault has a cruise night once a month? I moved to Nebraska a long time ago. We just got done with a Cruise night here in Kearney NE that lasts for 5 days but only once a year. The organizers think 25,000 to 30,000 people attended and over 400 cars for show and shine on Saturday. You can take a look at: kearneyhub.com



    • Thanks, Tom, for passing along this info about Kearney’s annual car show. I’m impressed by the numbers. That’s quite and event.

      The car cruises in Faribault happen once a month during the warmer months.

  3. Mike S. Says:

    That truck – what a find! I’d love hear more about where its been all these years. I love the park stickers on the Edsel, too.

    • Mike, I only know what Dean shared, that he assumed ownership of the truck after his dad passed away.

      The park stickers were definitely a highlight for me. Check back on Thursday for a photo of the Edsel wagon.

  4. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    These are great photos! And I absolutely love the one of all the road trip stickers. I used to beg my dad to put stickers on his car from all the places we went when I was a kid; he never did!

  5. Faaabulous shots.
    Do you need a Personal Assistant? I’m looking for a second job. LOLL. xx

  6. Don Says:

    Great pictures of very nice cars, pride of ownership shines in them! Looking back to my younger years I wish I had kept some of my cars! The 1st car I had was a 1966 Ford Mustang, if only I had known then what I know now…………………..

    Speaking of pride, I notice in your pictures the pride that Fairibault has in their downtown area. Nice well kept store fronts, clean streets and beautiful hanging flower baskets from light poles. Kudos to the store owners/managers and the city for all their efforts!

    • Don, thank you for noticing those details in the flower baskets, banners and well-kept storefronts. I will be writing about our historic downtown in part three of this Car Cruise Night series. That post publishes on Thursday.

      A lot of people feel the same as you about previous cars.

  7. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Ha ha a man could be traded just as easy

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