Leave Solon Commons??

Part X

By the end of the 2001 Cruise season there were only three food vendors remaining at the Solon Commons Food Court. By years end they too would be gone. The future of the vacant Food Court cast a dark cloud over our Tuesday night Cruise in Solon.

In 2002 the Club found itself facing the unthinkable, finding a new Cruise site. Other communities that were aware of the Clubs reputation and the fact that we were about to be homeless came courting. Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Northfield Township and Valley View came forward with offers to use some part of their cities.

Each of the sites offered had a problem of some sort that would be a disadvantage to a cruise. Solon’s Mayor, Kevin C. Patton became involved in preserving the Tuesday night Cruise that had celebrated ten very successful years in his city. He enlisted the help of Jeff Davis, of the Davis Automotive Group and owner of the Solon Commons. Mr. Davis assured us we would have the use of the parking area. Toilet facilities rank very high on the list of must haves. Arrangements were made with the theater next door to use their restrooms.

Food is always a nice feature at car events. Food vendors lined up to provide a variety of fast food and drinks. With the Cruise site crises solved we were free to concentrate on normal Club activities.

The Club withdrew its elaborate yearly displays from Cleveland’s Auto-Rama in 2001. The Canton area car show was now our winter destination. Our display was seen at Cruise-A-Rama from the 1st to the 3rd of February.

Much of 2002 was a repeat of earlier years. The bus trip to the Detroit Auto-Rama was enjoyed by 56 members and friends on February 23rd.

Another winter car show that required little Club effort and expense was the I X Center Auto Show. We displayed cars there from March 1st to the 11th.

On a sad note we learned of the passing of Butch Adams. His sudden passing was a shock. He was a quiet guy, always there with a smile and a helping hand. He enjoyed drag racing his Firebird. If you really knew him you will have missed him.

Our newsletter was given a face-lift in April 2002. It was published in a magazine format. It featured pictures and articles of Club members and their cars on the cover. Inside was a review of past, present and future Club events and other important information and pictures.

This work of art (for our small organization) was mailed out in an envelope so that it would arrive at your home in pristine condition. It has remained unchanged to this day. (July 2007)

The only Club event for April was a Mystery Cruise attended by 22 members. Cruisin’ The Commons 2002 started on May 7th with the promise that this would be our permanent home. Three Test-N-Tunes were scheduled for 2002. June, July and September.

Summit Racing has played an important part in our Cruisin’ The Commons and our Test-N-Tune events. In 2001 they sponsored three cruise nights and one Test-N-Tune. They were also very generous with Gift Certificates. Summit Racing picked up the pace in 2002. They sponsored four cruise nights and two Test-N-Tunes. Terry Taggart designed the 9 x 11 multi-colored window/owner identification cards used at our cruises. Summit Racing paid the cost of printing 10,000 copies.

July is the month for parades. We have been in every 4th of July Parade in Bedford/Bedford Heights since 1987. In Solon, July means Home Days and a parade. To us it means another opportunity to display our cars to the public.

On August 11th, 2002, the Club made a repeat visit to Quaker Steak and Lube with a Club jacket to display in the restaurant. It seems the first one donated in 2001 had somehow vanished. The replacement was enclosed in a shadow box and permanently mounted out of harms way. Five years later it remains on display, and out of reach. Just walk in the front door, look up at the wall on the right side, just to the right of the big archway. There you will see a Rock-N-Roll Capital Street Machines jacket and logo displayed amongst the icons of automotive history.

The Sports Editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer contacted our Club in July 2002. He was looking for some muscle cars for use in a photo shoot featuring area football players. A small number of our cars were selected for the feature article titled “Fast and Furious”. The article appeared in the August 20th edition.

Club picnics hit a new high on September 15th. President Ed Pezak was able to incorporate our Club picnic with the Multi-Club picnic and Car Event at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Park. We dined on steaks (supplied by our Club) grilled on charcoal by our Club. Members provided salads, side dishes, desserts and drinks. There were nine other clubs that participated in this picnic, with our Club having the largest number of members in attendance.

The Model T Club provided mid-day entertainment. They would drive a Model T Ford off a trailer and completely disassemble the car it using only hand tools. They would then reassemble the car in just over three minutes, start it up and drive it away.

In 2002 our Charity Cruise was still held on a Tuesday night. Once again Ronald McDonald House was the recipient of our August 20th fundraising efforts.

The year 2002 ended with the annual Christmas party at the Bedford Hts Civic Center. We also ended the year as the “Number One Cruise In” in Northern Ohio. Not bad for a Club that was about to be homeless just twelve months earlier.

Your fellow cruiser, Joe Artale, member since 1987.