Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From Faribault: Cruisin’ on Central on a glorious May evening May 16, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:51 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

The weather proved perfect for riding in this AMC Ambassador convertible during Faribault’s first 2020 Car Cruise Night.


FOR 25 MINUTES, WE WATCHED the cars and trucks cruise by on Central Avenue. Most vintage. Some not. And, just as the motorcycles roared into line, we picked up our lawn chairs and left. Not because we wanted to, but rather our order of the BBQ special from The Depot Bar & Grill was ready for curbside pick-up. We’d scheduled that just a little too early.


Cruising north along Faribault’s Central Avenue.


Watching the cruise. Central Avenue was not closed to traffic during the event.


Waving an American flag from a Dodge Dart.


Friday evening marked the first actual cruise in Faribault Main Street’s monthly warm weather car cruises. Typically, vehicles park along closed Central Avenue and people mingle, inspecting vehicles close-up, visiting with owners and others. It’s a social event that brings the community together.


An early Nova, also known as a Chevy II.


Filming the cruise…


Riding in the rumble seat of a Ford.


But all that has changed due to COVID-19. And rather than call off the gathering, organizers planned the cruise, first through Faribault’s historic downtown and then around the city. It was the perfect evening. Sunny. Warm. Lovely in every way.


Cruise participants await the start of the cruise in the Buckham Memorial Library parking lot.


A lovely Pontiac Catalina drives down Central Avenue.


We sat an empty parking space away from these cruise watchers, who remained in their car.


As we waited at the Minnesota State Highway 60 and Division Street intersection stoplight, I glanced over at the staging area—the library and community center parking lots. Vehicles packed the lots and nearby street. I noticed a definite lack of social distancing and no masks from afar (their choice), although I saw some drivers with masks during the parade. Randy and I brought ours along, to wear if we felt crowded and needed them. We didn’t.


A hotrod…


Down the block, these folks watched the cruise.


Cruisin’ Central in a Chevelle.


And so we kicked back in our lawn chairs and watched as vehicles rolled by, some roaring their engines and showing off for the crowd. I could have done without that. But, still, I enjoyed the parade and the 25 minutes when it seemed like this was just any other Friday evening in May. Except it wasn’t.



Loved this little Nash Metropolitan.


A Plymouth.


Love the old pick-up trucks.


A 57 Chevy.


A Lincoln Continental.


© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “From Faribault: Cruisin’ on Central on a glorious May evening”

  1. Ruth Says:

    What a great evening. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    FD and I love the old car shows and cruise-thru’s. Most of the time the owners are just as interesting (and classic) as the cars they are driving!

  3. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Nash Metropolitan, the original compact. Dad bought a ’51 Nash Ambassador that we inherited in ’62, for all I know is still driving around WBL. The map they published for this cruise was a hoot, but the neighborhoods need this, not just Central, social event that it’s turned into. Love the old pickups, have ridden in many. ’57 Chevy, the best. However, have you sat in a ’48-49 anything? Like sitting on the street trying to see out. What a beautiful night, food sounded great too. Hope it lifted your spirits a little. I’m sure they’ll do it again.

  4. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    Those were the days – cruising hometown on a Friday night, north to south, then east to west and perhaps on to the next town to continue the cruising magic.

  5. Sounds like a perfect date-night!

  6. From muscle cars to small and sporty with the Nash to hotrods to trucks and then you have the BIG Caddies and Continentals. I drive a pickup truck that is close to a classic in being Sweet Sixteen – ha! I like classic and vintage vehicles though. Oh so much FUN!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Looks like fun! I love car shows.

  8. Walter Says:

    Those old cars have a charm in shapes and colors that have never been recovered in modern cars again. Pleasure to my eyes the cruising.

  9. Looks like a great evening, but no one wearing masks??

    • No masks that I saw among those gathering in the parking lots and streets pre-cruise. Given the lack of social distancing then, masks certainly should have been worn. But they are only recommended by our state officials and many people go mask-less. It’s disheartening, but reality. During the parade, car cruise participants were spaced far apart and, I assume, were riding only with members of their families. Those of us watching the parade were not near one another. I walked around people I met, hopefully spacing myself six feet away.

      People aren’t nearly as cautious as in NYC. And now that restrictions have been loosened here in Minnesota, well, people seem to care even less. I personally have asked people to move away from me when they get nearer than six feet. I do wear a mask inside stores, but not outdoors in parks or nature areas when there’s no one near except Randy. I do hope if the cruise is held again that organizers rethink the staging area to allow for social distancing. Way too many people were packed into one area, seemingly without regard for social distancing and public safety. It’s OK to have fun and enjoy an evening, but, in a global pandemic we need to follow health recommendations for social distancing and public safety.

      • Such a different scenario then here. Too many people are getting fed up and weary. Still, the pandemic still has a grip and is infecting children. One of Ethan’s friends has COVID. It manifests in children in such a horrible way. Take good care Audrey, you and family.

      • Keith, first I am deeply sorry that Ethan’s friend is infected with COVID. I pray he will recover. This is so scary with all the unknowns.

        The situation in Rice County, where I live, is worsening with 295 positive cases as of yesterday. According to a New York Times data analysis story, Faribault and neighboring Northfield, Minnesota, are poised for the next big COVID-19 outbreak in the country. We are listed as #1 in the U.S. for highest average daily growth rate, according to the article. This comes as the state is reopening and as the Catholic and some Lutheran churches in Minnesota are defying the governor’s orders and reopening churches. I am not happy.

        You be well, too, Keith, and your beautiful family.

      • Stay safe and healthy Audrey!

      • Thank you, Keith. I’m trying. Trying to be smart and think of not only myself, but others.

  10. Missy’s Crafty Mess/Missy’s Handarbeid Says:

    Love the old cars. My step Dad had an old Nova painted a sparkling wine/red color!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.