Cruizin’ for a Cause revved up for new season

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There are two words that are associated with seasonal car cruises and shows, and they are often unwelcome to the ears of folks like Gary Maddocks.

“Unfortunately,” Maddocks mused with a smile, “those words are ‘weather permitting,’ but that’s always the story for outdoor events everywhere.”

So, “weather permitting” as Maddocks went on, the Johnston Street Machines will begin their fifth consecutive season of Cruizin’ for a Cause at 5 p.m. today in the Denny’s Restaurant parking lot located inside the Johnston Towne Centre off Hartford Avenue.

For people who aren’t familiar with the popular event, Cruizin’ for a Cause has raised thousands of dollars for Rhode Island-based groups such as A Wish Come True. The get-together provides visitors with a chance to take a trip down memory lane while looking over dozens of vintage vehicles.

Cruizin’ for a Cause is held every Thursday – weather permitting – from 5-8 p.m. Richard George, a.k.a. DJ The Car Guy, plays oldies and doo-wop music while people amble around the Denny’s parking lot looking over classic cars.

Back when the JSM started the classic cruises, Johnston Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini called the weekly session a “great community event for everyone.”

The only expense, as it goes, is that the JSM asks car owners who show off their prize possessions to donate $5 for the night’s charity.

For spectators, admission is free, and there’s even a chance for someone to take home a tidy sum of money from the always-popular 50/50 drawing.

Moreover, Denny’s Restaurant – as Maddocks noted – has been “very supportive” and gives 20 percent off each bill to those car owners who donate $5 at the entrance when checking in with JSM staffers like Peter Lombardi.

“We encourage classic cars, hot rods, street rods, pro street rods, muscle cars, antique cars and motorcycles to take part in our cruise,” Maddocks said. “We welcome any street machine used to sustain the history of street rodding and advance a positive image of safe street rodding through organizational activities, member socializing and meaningful charitable contributions to our community.”

The JSM’s goal – as it was when Maddocks, Anthony Ferranti, George and Gina Arakelian founded the popular cruise five years ago – is to promote interest in various forms of street rodding activities among members, their families and the community in a manner benefiting the street rodding image.

Other dates this month are June 13, 20 and 27. Proceeds from the four nights will benefit A Wish Come True.

Cruizin’ for a Cruise will also be held on July 4, 11, 18 and 25, with the Fourth of July serving as a holiday cruise for the Rhode Island Veterans of Foreign Wars. The dates for the following month are August 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

The final cruise of each month is designated as Trophy Night when Anthony’s Auto Body will donating 58 trophies to winners of different categories that will be selected by the respective benefiting month’s charity.

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