Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Faribault Car Cruise season closes with impressive finale August 30, 2016

This cute little 1959 Metropolitan drew lots of attention as did its companion one several blocs away.

This cute little 1959 Metropolitan drew lots of attention as did its companion one several blocks away.

I COULD FEEL THE ENERGY, the vibe, the excitement on Friday evening in historic downtown Faribault.

This little guy was enthralled with the University of Minnesota's solar car.

This little guy was enthralled with the University of Minnesota’s solar car.

I could see the enthusiasm, the sense of community, the togetherness.

Another view of the U's solar car.

Another view of the U’s solar car.

And I heard the positive comments—the praise for Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Night and the number of collector vehicles and people the event drew. Even I couldn’t believe the scene before me as my husband and I arrived downtown an hour after the cruise started.

The crowd and vehicles stretched for blocks along Faribault's Central Avenue for Car Cruise Night.

The crowd and vehicles stretched for blocks along Faribault’s Central Avenue for Car Cruise Night.

Rather than filling the typical 1 ½ to 2 city blocks, vehicles lined four blocks of Central Avenue from Fourth Street to the Buckham Center. And the crowd of car enthusiasts far outnumbered any I’ve ever seen at these monthly cruise nights. That says a lot for the organizer—Faribault Main Street—and others who are embracing this ever-growing gathering.

One of the most unusual vehicles included this one. There's hole in the hood that allows the motor part to extend through the hood and for the vehicle to be driven.

This unusual vehicle drew lots of interest. There’s hole in the hood that allows the inner workings to extend through the hood and for the vehicle to be driven.

While I initially planned to leave my camera at home, because I’ve photographed Cruise Night many times already, I knew I would regret doing so. It was the right decision to sling my Canon 20-D across my shoulder and document whatever caught my eye. That included many many vehicles I have not seen at past Car Cruise Nights. Here’s some of what I saw:

Another favorite of mine: a 1955 Chevy Nomad two-door wagon.

Another favorite of mine: a 1955 Chevy Nomad two-door wagon, left.

A buick

Collectible car owners crossed the border from Iowa to participate in the Friday Car Cruise Night. Here’s a beautiful 1955 Buick.

A 1977

Another Iowa car: a 1977 Olds Cutlass Supreme

My appreciation for vehicles, like this Ford Torino, extends to the details. Love this artsy front end.

My appreciation for vehicles, like this Ford Torino, extends to the details. Love this artsy front end.

This Chrysler LeBaron doesn't seen all that old to me. That tells me something. I like the plain canvas backdrop of building #117, which has always been a mystery to me.

This Chrysler LeBaron doesn’t seen all that old to me. What does that tell you about my age? I appreciate the plain canvas backdrop of building #117, which has always been a mystery to me.

When a particularly noisy souped up car roared down Central Avenue, this boy covered his ears. I did the same.

When a particularly noisy souped up car roared down Central Avenue, this boy covered his ears. I did the same after snapping this image.

That would be a Mercedes.

That would be a Mercedes.

This 1956 Pontiac features a Continental kit which allows the spare tire to be attached to the back.

This 1956 Pontiac features a Continental kit which allows the spare tire to be attached to the back.

I always people watch. I have no idea why this couple was lying on the sidewalk at the intersection of Central Avenue and Fourth Street.

I always people-watch. I have no idea why this couple was lying on the sidewalk at the intersection of Central Avenue and Fourth Street.

One of the most unusual cars: a 1959 Ford Skyliner with a folding trunk.

One of the most unusual cars: a 1959 Ford Skyliner with a retractable roof, truly an engineering feat.

Hood ornaments always interest me for their artsy beauty.

Hood ornaments always interest me for their artsy beauty.

Volkswagons always

Although I don’t find the Volkswagen a particularly comfortable car (I once rode in one all the way from Mankato to central Wisconsin and back), I appreciate their unique style and cuteness factor.

Look closely and you'll find plenty of humor at a car show.

Look closely and you’ll find plenty of humor at a car cruise.

That's a chopped Model A, left.

That’s a chopped Model A, left.

As day faded into darkness, I photographed these Fords parked outside on the Faribault's oldest family-run businesses, Burkhartzmeyer Shoes.

As day faded into darkness, I photographed these Fords parked outside one of Faribault’s oldest family-run businesses, Burkhartzmeyer Shoes.

It was a perfect August summer evening in Faribault with the sky tinted red as the sun set, here looking toward the historic Buckham Memorial Library.

It was a perfect August summer evening in Faribault with the sky tinted red as the sun set, here looking toward the historic Buckham Memorial Library and the community center.

I love the hue of this unidentified vintage car.

I love the hue of this unidentified vintage car.

Although certainly not old, this Dodge Challenger Hellcat drew lots of admirers as the headlights changed colors: red, green and purple.

Although certainly not old, this Dodge Challenger Hellcat drew lots of admirers as the headlights changed colors: red, green and purple.

FYI: The Faribo Drag Ons won the first-ever Car Club Showdown on Friday evening and received a gigantic homemade trophy. (I missed the presentation.)

Friday’s event closes the 2016 Car Cruise Night season in Faribault. The event resumes in the spring. And from all indications (I talked to a key organizer and got an inside track), next year promises even more new attractions to draw folks into downtown Faribault. And that is a good thing.

A special thanks to my automotive machinist/car enthusiast husband, Randy, for his help in identifying the vehicles featured in this post.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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18 Responses to “Faribault Car Cruise season closes with impressive finale”

  1. Sartenada Says:

    Wonderful post. I am great fun of old-timers and those, which presented are gorgeous. Thank You. This time I invite to visit my lace post. I am sure that You love it.

    Happy Tuesday!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Well that is another feather in Faribault’s hat to host these and this one turned out bigger and better which is so wonderful. I especially liked your photos as dusk fell and the lighting changed. Something really wonderful about those pics, Audrey.

    • Yes, this event continues to grow and that means more people will discover all Faribault offers. As I was photographing Friday evening, I thought how fortunate I am to live in a community with such a beautiful historic downtown.

      I agree about the dusk images. If I hadn’t been talking so much with friends I met, I might have more from that time period.

  3. Excellent photos! I love the details – the hood ornament, the kid covering his ears, the fading light. The little red VW Bug made me nostalgic; my first car was an orange Bug, semi-automatic. I loved that car until it got totaled by a woman who ran a light and hit me. I was seven months pregnant with my son at the time; luckily, she only got the front of the car and missed the driver’s seat by inches.

    • That had to be one frightening crash, especially being seven months pregnant. I am thankful you were not injured.

      Thank you for your kind words about my photos. The kid covering his ears is my favorite. I’m always watching for moments like that and sometimes I’m lucky enough to capture them.

  4. randy Says:

    The Chrysler LeBaron may not seem very old, being built about 1980 makes it 36 years old already

  5. Don Says:

    Great cars and fantastic pictures! Congratulations to the organizers for putting on such an event that captures the interest of the town, someday I will make sure to attend it! Cars are of course the main attraction but I find the architecture of the background buildings interesting too, the two go hand in hand.

    • I’m glad you commented on the architecture because I emphasized that in a past post about Faribault Downtown Car Cruise Night. Not every city is so fortunate to have such a beautiful historic downtown as ours with all of these old buildings. They definitely add to the atmosphere.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Wonderful post Audrey, you highlighted some awesome looking cars! Too many favorites to mention. I almost swallowed my tongue when you said you almost left your camera at home…. Your readers are glad you didnt.

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    I loved these photographs. I enjoy your perspective… old cars and the old buildings in the background – all sorts of candid people shots. We don’t see many car shows here and I’m not sure why.

  8. Great photos once again. Looks like a fun community to take a walk through


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