Un-Canceled: Cutsforth’s Cruise-In Back on at Fairgrounds

Ladies and gentlemen, re-start your engines. The 26th annual Cutsforth’s Cruise-In is back on for this summer at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

Clackamas County approved organizers’ plans late last month for a modified version of the popular event, a staple of the area’s annual summer calendar and, in normal years, one of the anchors of Canby’s Big Weekend at the end of August.

After a couple of weeks reading the tea leaves as best they could about what the reopening guidelines might look like for Clackamas County next month, Frank Cutsforth told the Canby Now Podcast Thursday that they have decided to go for it.

“It obviously won’t be the same, but we’re going to try our best to make it fun for people,” Cutsforth said. “People are pretty excited about having something to look forward to this summer. We’ve got to give it a shot.”

The 2019 Cruise-In, which was the 25th anniversary of the event, drew a record 710 participants and thousands of attendees. File photo.

The Cruise-In will be held on its originally scheduled date of Saturday, Aug. 29, though the hours are still to be determined.

Some of the other details are still in flux as well, and may come down to what phase of reopening the county is in at the time. But generally, the key to the restart is space — of which the fairgrounds has plenty.

“They have 60 acres, or so they tell me,” Cutsforth said with a laugh. “So, all the cars will be spaced out, and we’ll be wearing masks. The staff at the fairgrounds has been so great to work with. They’ve been really helping us out.”

Participants may be spaced out even farther than the fairgrounds, Cutsforth noted, as they will be encouraged to circulate throughout the community and countryside more than usual.

“People like to drive their cars,” he said. “We’ll give them some runs through the country that they maybe haven’t been on before.”

The Cruise-In attracts a wide variety of motorized vehicles — from the historical to the classic to the experimental. File photo.

Music is a possibility, as well as sponsor awards that may be determined via photos rather than in-person. With the event now just around the corner, months of planning and organizing will have to be crammed into just seven weeks.

Cutsforth said he has spent much of this week calling back the 40 to 50 car owners who had registered for the event before it was canceled in May, following new guidance by the governor requiring that all large events be suspended until at least October.

“I think most of them will be coming back,” Cutsforth said of the earlier registrants. “You know, a lot of people put a lot of effort into this all year, and it’s such a good community event. It just doesn’t feel right to not have it, if there’s a chance.”

For the latest details, stay tuned to the Cutsforth’s Cruise-In Facebook page.

The fairgrounds will also soon become the home of a new, permanent drive-in movie theater, as the cultural center looks to replace some small portion of an ordinarily busy summer events calendar that has been wiped clean by the coronavirus pandemic.

An opening date for the drive-in has not yet been set, but it is also expected in August.

The Canby Now Podcast is dedicated to the radical idea that news is not a product and should be free for all. Ironically, for this model to survive, we do need the (voluntary) support of our community. Find out more about how you can help sustain the work of the Canby Now Podcast for as little as $1 a month at canbynowpod.com/support. Thanks!