Cruisers take over park to benefit local arts scene

Photo by Dave Gorgon

Photo by Dave Gorgon


Nick Manescu of Taylor won the First Place award at Cruisin’ for the Arts at Heritage Park with his 1949 Mercury.

TAYLOR — Terry Robertson of Allen Park and his fully-restored 1962 Corvette took the Best in Show trophy at Cruisin’ for the Arts 2010 on Aug. 28, at Heritage Park.

First place went to Nick Manescu of Taylor for his blue-flamed 1949 Mercury. John Morris of Romulus took second place for a restored 1971 Dodge Challenger. Third place went to Anita Murphy of Taylor for a Hot Rod Bucket T.

The Fire Chief’s Trophy went to a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to Bill Philips of Taylor. The Police Chief’s Trophy was presented to Taylor’s Kim Cowles’ 1973 Challenger. The Mayor’s Trophy went to Wayne Cline of Taylor for his restored and patriotic 1950 GMC truck. Cline still has the original equipment spare tire for the classic vehicle.

Sixteen more awards were given out for vehicles that exemplified excellence in Downriver cruising: Paul Caudill, Steve Thomas, Al Haas, Bob Notter, John Boyd, Walt Szostek, Joe Combs, Hailee Murphy and Mick Laskey, all of Taylor; Dawn Leimback of Brownstown Township; Jay and Linda Williams of Romulus; Dave Seaco of Woodhaven; Ron Thomas of Lincoln Park; Paul Pierce of Newport, Russ Urtell of Grosse Pointe; and Jim Philips.

The weather was clear and beautiful, organizers say, and that combined with food and musical offerings, made for a great day out for participants and attendees.

Cruisin’ for the Arts is sponsored by the city’s Department of Golf, Parks and Recreation and the Cultural Arts Commission. It was produced by the Taylor Cultural Arts Foundation to raise funds for support of arts events and arts education in the city and the greater Downriver area.

Erin Dobbins is chairwoman of the show. Lisa Norris and Gerard Drazba are co-chairs.

“Some might think it odd that a Cultural Arts Commission would get involved with a car show, but if you look at the pictures it is clear that these vehicles are works of art and the owners and builders are indeed artists,” said Drazba, who serves on the commission. “The owners/builders/artists are also our main benefactors through the $10 registration fee for cars in the show.

“In return, our mission is to give them a nice venue to show their art. Thanks to the beauty of Heritage Park, that part is easy.

Each year, all vehicles are welcome at the show, regardless of make, model, year, class or style, Drazba said.

“Some car shows favor certain classifications,” he added. “Our show is wide open. You name it: rat cars or low riders or late model mods and classics. Come one, come all.

“Each vehicle is a personal expression of the owner. That is art. As a fundraiser, all we ask for is four wheels and $10. Cruisin’ for the Arts is a showing of Downriver works of automotive art.” He noted that every weekend of good weather there are multiple car shows from which to choose.

“We want all of the Downriver car guys and gals to know that this humble show in beautiful Heritage Park is for them,” Drazba said. “Another tribute to our car guys and gals is that at the end of the day when the last car rumbled off of the concert field in Heritage Park, there was not a bit of trash left behind. Not one! They took care of our park the way they take care of their cars.”

Drazba said the Cultural Arts Foundation wants Cruisin for the Arts to become “an annual appointment for folks from all over to come see Downriver’s car guys and car gals and their magnificent machines.”

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